Andrei Zviaguintsev, prize for best scenario at Cannes in 2014 with the very beautiful Leviathan, returns with a story of sudden disappearance at the heart of a country threatened by the chaos.
Neglected by her parents pending divorce, a child (Alyosha) decides to disappear. It is on this premise that the Russian director Andrei Zviaguintsev embroiders his new film, absence Of LOVE. However, if one expected, with this pitch, with a film of research, it is necessary to wait almost an hour for this axis actually starts, Zviaguintsev preferring to linger on the couple a total break. But from the outset, a first big question is : why put so much in before its characters when you have so little affection for them ? Neither the father nor the mother did not come to create with us a precious link of empathy, or too minimal, when the time of a few seconds there’s an opening to probe for this that works from the inside. We are still at a stage of observation rather than of communion, scanning her up and down as if they were objects of study. The limit of the absence Of LOVE is required suddenly to us, particularly as Zviaguintsev seems to himself not to love his characters. The impression remains of see a director misanthrope manipulate puppets, taking a sometimes sadistic pleasure in torture as in the unsettling scene in the morgue where his pirouette small malignant causes a laugh embarrassed.
It is to be expected, the picture drawn of Russia has nothing to do with seductive. Arid, frigid, inhospitable, littered with dysfunctional and mired in practices that are very strict preventing them to evolve. This desperate quest to find a child suddenly vanished, is both a challenge for parents to face their responsibilities, but also a test of the homeland of Poutine, bringing forth a double impotence – a side for two adults who have never endorsed properly their role find themselves faced with feelings undiscovered, and the other a country whose structures related to the State (the police, administration) are unable to act appropriately to resolve the concerns of the population. All of this is, in itself, quite exciting if we are trying to understand how the mechanisms came to seize Russia.
Formally very compartmentalized, Andrei Zviaguintsev accumulates symbols not very fine, on which he lingers long on many occasions (the tree, for example). Thought out and executed with precision, for LACK Of LOVE does not leave us air nor gives us confidence crazy as we struck her about. Moreover, quite beautiful visually (the light is to die for, a real splendor), the meaning of the part of the Russian director sometimes falls in the excessive aesthetic – make it look good just for the gesture, in order to satisfy a self-centered satisfaction of looking at composing frameworks developed. Peremptory to the possible LACK Of LOVE takes the pose to tease us but is struggling to seduce us.
Review published may 18, 2017 at the screening at the Cannes film Festival
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• Realisation :Andrei Zviaguintsev
• Scenario :Andrei Zviaguintsev
• Main actors : Maryana Spivak, Matvey Novikov, Andris Keishs
• Release Date : 20 September 2017
• Duration : 2h07min