Nelyubov (Loveless)

Poster for Nelyubov (Loveless)

Among the snowy high-rises of modern Moscow live stocky salesman Boris (Aleksey Rozin, Leviathan) and Zhenya (Maryana Spivak), a youthful salon owner. Having migrated to shiny new partners, the couple’s relationship is coming to a bitter end and the fate of their 12-year-old son Alyosha (Matvey Novikov) is the last thing on their minds. When Alyosha goes missing without a trace, his parents can barely grieve in unison.

Loveless is a story about a heartless marriage on the verge of collapse faced with tragedy. It also illuminates multilayered dichotomies embedded in Russian society. Battles between old and new beliefs, public and private institutions, post-Soviet infrastructures and nouveau riche establishments linger throughout.

Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan) is the master of crafting a drama with the cinematic tropes of a thriller. Moreover, he is an expert at exposing his world for what it has become. We watch as the director’s countrymen ruthlessly step all over each other in order to claw to the top. As Vladimir Putin flexes his muscles and expands westward, Loveless—which was made without the strings of state funding and won the Jury Prize at Cannes—may at first appear to be about a specifically Russian phenomenon, but it is not. Lovelessness is universal.

“Andrei 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.” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)

“The dramatic aesthetic of a movie like Loveless—rock-solid yet leisurely in its observance, grounded yet metaphorical—makes it a quietly commanding film.” (Owen Gleiberman, Variety)

“With his devastating, finely layered new drama Loveless, Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev once again demonstrates his remarkable gift for creating perfectly formed dramatic microcosms that illustrate the bred-in-the-bone pathologies of Russian society.” (Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter)