by director/co-writer Andrey Zvyagintsev
Loveless is a simple story of family conflict, which will be familiar to many. A husband and wife, an average middle-class couple today, are going through a divorce. Sick of each other after many years of marriage, both intend to move on, to begin a new chapter with new partners and fresh emotions. All that holds them back is their past experience. But surely, they can find a solution and dump the baggage that stands between them and their happiness? Their son, a stranger to both of them, becomes a ragdoll they lob vindictively at each other's faces.
"I'll change; I won't repeat the same mistakes that brought me to disillusionment; I will begin anew." These are the thoughts of people who blame others for their fiascos. They think that the best solution is to replace those around them. The truth doesn't occur to them: they could change everyone, and still be left alone, stuck in the quicksand of their lives. The new leaf of your new chapter will always be stained with the inkblots of past experience, and the new people in your life are bound to repeat the same old words you hate so much. The only thing that can be changed is you.
This is one of the most obvious narrative directions of our film. The story's deeper layers will touch upon other important themes: our duties as parents; so-called "bad genes," which psychologists appropriately describe as the script parents write for their children; the erosion of Christianity throughout the world; and the nature of our post-modern era, a post-industrial society littered with excessive information and comprised of individuals with very little interest in other people as anything other than a means to an end. These days, no one even bothers to hide it: it's every man for himself. All those brave enough to recognize that loveless corner of their hearts, however small and insignificant, will find a painful reflection of themselves in our story.
Loveless presents a different view of contemporary Russia: much more intimate and personal than the one presented in everyday media headlines. It speaks honestly about the problems of the society, which in many ways are not uniquely Russian but rather universal, but it also speaks of the ways that the Russian society evolved to try and counter the overall problem of Lovelessness.