Saturday, January 24, 2009

Le Silence de Lorna (Lorna’s Silence)

Another mesmerizing film by the Dardenne brothers that slowly, very slowly and majestically builds a story of immigration deception with many still camera takes, great coldish cinematography and some remarkable frames. Definitively after seeing so many American movies I needed a different and more enjoyable cinematic experience and this film didn’t dissapoint me at all and even surprised me as has some moments that can be a little thrilling which is totally strange in a Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne film, but as a viewer it was welcomed as a novelty to their particular style.

The film tells the story of Lorna a recent Albanian immigrant that married junkie Claudy to get the Belgian residence and be able to open the dream store with his also Albanian immigrant lover Sokol. The marriage was schemed by mob aspirant Fabio that wants Lorna to become his business, as he wants her to marry other men that will pay for the residence. When Fabio has a Russian customer willing to pay large amounts of money, he plans to kill Claudy with an overdose; but Lorna fakes husband abuse to accelerate the divorce from Claudy –and help him- and as expected in the Dardenne’s stories Lorna starts her redemption process.

Most interesting is that many things in the above brief summary and more that come after you will not be able to see, but still you will be able to easily understand this story that skips many things as the film totally follows Lorna that is in almost every scene of the movie; so, whatever happens when she’s not in the screen you will not see it. This is a little confusing the first time it happens, but soon enough you figure it out the style, as well as what you don't see.

Mesmerizing performance by Dardenne’s new discovery, Kosovo-born Arta Dobroshi that truly illuminates the screen and takes you into the her voyage from being a cold woman interested only in getting money for the store, to a woman that reconciles her nature and addresses her priorities no matter what, thus reaching her redemption; and she does it with such natural performance that fast enough you end up inside her character and living the everyday life situations she encounters. That’s exactly what I really love of European movies, where most stories and performances are able to take you inside the film.

The film premiered in competition at the 2008 Cannes fest where won the Best Screenplay, won the 2008 Lux Cinema Prize, won the Best Francophone Film at the 2009 Prix Lumieres and as of today is nominated for Best Foreign Film in the 2009 Cesar Awards. Also Arta Dobroshi was nominated as Best Actress in the 2008 European Film Awards.

Absolutely not for all audiences as you have to like the particular Dardenne brothers style (remember Rosetta and L’Enfant?) and the story doesn’t have a traditional ending, you have to select the end you wish. I liked the movie a lot and definitively I recommend it to everyone that enjoys great European cinema.


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