Andrey Zvyagintsev is an artist who does not tolerate compromises. Each of the most important film festivals in the world would be proud to have his film's premiere in its programme, but this privilege so far had only the oldest and most prestigious ones - Venice (with premiere of his debut film "The Return") and Cannes (his four subsequent works). Zvyagintsev's collection of prestigious awards and nominations is unique and impressive - over 100 in 14 years. "Leviathan" was honored for his screenplay at Cannes 2014, "Elena" received the Special Jury Prize - Cannes 2011, "The Banishment" won the Best Actor Award at Cannes 2007, and "The Return" was honored with "Golden Lion" (and four more awards) in Venice 2003.
"Loveless" („Нелюбовь") was featured in the Cannes 2017 competition program and in one of the film's glorious reviews was found the following feature: "a heavy film with Gargantuan influence and effect, a daring and terrifying commentary on the essence of an entire nation ".
"Loveless" tells a story about the violent divorce of Zhenya and Boris, marked with stony-hearted insults, a sense of impasse and mutual accusations. Each of them has their own new life and they are eager to start anew, even if it means abandoning their 12-year-old son Alyosha. After witnessing one of her parents' scandals, Alyosha disappears ...
The main roles in the film are entrusted to Mariana Spivak and Alexei Rozin - a family that is going through a serious crisis. Their separation is terrifying at least because neither of them is willing to take their 12-year-old son Alyosha. After the boy's disappearance, the film is transformed from a human drama into a total critique of the overall atmosphere and reality in modern Russia. A desperate lack of love is one of the eternal problems of human existence, but Russian artists are capable of capturing the important elements - and recreating them in images.
Andrey Zvyagintsev's "Loveless" is a stark, mysterious and terrifying story of spiritual catastrophe: a drama with the ostensible form of a procedural crime thriller. It has a hypnotic intensity and unbearable ambiguity which is maintained until the very end. This is a story of modern Russia whose people are at the mercy of implacable forces, a loveless world like a planet without the full means to support human life, a place where the ordinary need for survival has mutated or upgraded into an unending aspirational demand for status, money, freedom to find an advantageous second marriage which brings a nice apartment, sex, luxury and the social media prerogative of selfies and self-affirmation. But all of it is underpinned, or overseen, by intensely conservative social norms of Christianity, conformism and nationalism...
"Loveless" may not have the obvious grandeur and reach of his previous film, "Leviathan", and is closer to the mordant domestic drama of "Elena". But its brilliance and passion are compelling."
"The Guardian", Peter Bradshaw
More surprises are waiting in the 22nd Sofia International Film Festival's programme - stay alert, MARCH is the month for #CINEMA!