Loveless (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Loveless Review: Cold and toxic, a disintegration of marriage metaphorically portraying an entire nation’s predicament!  

My Ratings: 4.4/5

A bitter divorce is never an easy experience for any couple but certainly the real victims are always the children. The most traumatic realisation a child has to cope with is that neither his parents wants custody of him, that he is just an unwanted baggage, a burden, that he is a mere glitch in their ugly adult world.

And that is exactly what happens to 12-year-old young Alyosha (Matvey Novikov), the terrible hard-hitting feeling of being loveless.

On one side Alyosha’s father (Aleksey Rozin) is having an affair with a younger woman who is pregnant with his child and on the other hand his harsh-speaking mother (Maryana Spivak) is passionately in love with a wealthy older man. On the verge of a nasty divorce the parents indulge themselves into a spate of brutal outbursts completely oblivious of the child who eventually decides to vanish from their lives for good.

Where is he gone? Has something happened to him? A kid cannot just disappear like that?

lovelessBut then writer/director Andrey Zvyagintsev (of Leviathan fame) along with writer Oleg Negin uses this tragic event to serve a bigger purpose, to narrate and critique the conditions in contemporary Russia, a country where everyone is desperately looking for – a lost loveless kid or may be it is simply Love that they are searching for?

Here we are talking about one nation (though I personally think it is a worldwide problem) where Happiness has become a piece of merchandise that can be negotiated and bought at a price while the value of Family-stability been reduced to a sign of status symbol. Where emotions and duty take the second seat while greed, ego and lust for a better-life gets the priority.

Absolute brilliance in the acting department – especially Maryana Spivak and Aleksey Rozin really make you hate and even sympathise lovelesswith them to a certain extent. The secondary characters Natalya PotapovaMarina Vasileva and Anna Gulyarenko also have such strong impact on the story and the audience.

But the best part is Mikhail Krichman‘s unique cinematography, the long takes and the subtle tracking of the camera brilliantly adds to the sentiments of the characters and the overall feel of the movie.

The music by Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine is spot on and cleverly used only when it is actually required.

Official submission from Russia in the ‘Best Foreign Language Film‘ category at the 2018 Oscars. This is undoubtedly one of the best cinema of last year; very rarely does one film achieves a feat of representing a country and the psychology of its inhabitance with such savage precision and success.

Go watch it!

Similar interest: Leviathan Review

Similar Interest: Best Russian Classic Comedy Films

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Call Me by Your Name – BEST OF 19TH MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Call Me by Your Name Review: Intoxicatingly romantic, intensely erotic and definitely the best ‘Coming-of-age love story’ of our time! 

My Ratings: 4.3/5

‘Sexual awakening’ is a tried and tested theme and some brilliant movies in the past like Moonlight and Blue Is the Warmest Color have portrayed the typical indecisiveness of the young curious mind in the most engaging and cinematic ways possible.

But then Call Me by Your Name though delving with the similar adolescent dilemma hits the audience as the fresh morning air and takes away our breath by the sheer beauty and subtleness of the story and its charming characters!

Set in early 1980, surrounded by the dreamy countryside of Northern Italy, stands a picturesque villa in the midst of lush green valleys, fruit orchards and blue lagoons, and there blooms an illicit love story – an irresistible chemistry between a seventeen year old boy and a man in his mid twenties that finally oozes into one of the most emotionally captivating relationships painted on celluloid!

‘Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.’ 

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) the young son of an archeology professor meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome American graduate student, who visits as an intern for the summer – and those six weeks Call-Me-by-Your-Nameof summer changes their lives forever. Especially Elio’s as the story is being told mostly from his perspective – not only does he discover love but he also reinvents himself.

Now the genius of director Luca Guadagnino (famous for the films I Am Love and A Bigger Splash) is not only in unfolding passion in the most lucid and eloquent manner (almost as if in slow motion) but also for treating the characters with electric erotism and yet never being carried away to the extent of indelicacy.

Never objectifying the central characters, never categorising their desires (both the leading men are shown with relationships with women as well), titillating but always with an uncanny sense of Call-Me-by-Your-Namespontaneous sophistication – both James Ivory (writer) and Luca Guadagnino (director) have adopted André Aciman‘s novel and made it into something very special and ageless!

And kudos to the exceptional performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet – they have managed to perfectly portray the volatility of their relationship. And a special mention to Michael Stuhlbarg specially for his brilliant father-son dialogue delivery towards the end of the movie. Classic!

Poetic, alluring and ageless, as beautiful as the nude Greek male torsos that keep appearing in the film at regular intervals – probably the symbol for the eternal signature of love and passion.

Certainly one of the best films of the year!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com