Sokol and Lorna, two Albanian emigrants in Belgium, dream of leaving their dreary jobs to set up a snack bar. They need money, and a permanent resident status. Claudy is a junkie - he needs ... Read allSokol and Lorna, two Albanian emigrants in Belgium, dream of leaving their dreary jobs to set up a snack bar. They need money, and a permanent resident status. Claudy is a junkie - he needs money to satisfy his addiction. Andrei, the cigarette smuggler, must hold up for a while o... Read allSokol and Lorna, two Albanian emigrants in Belgium, dream of leaving their dreary jobs to set up a snack bar. They need money, and a permanent resident status. Claudy is a junkie - he needs money to satisfy his addiction. Andrei, the cigarette smuggler, must hold up for a while outside Russia; he has loads of money. Fabio, the Italian taxi driver and aspiring gang bos... Read all
The view is relentlessly depressing, coherently so. Everything is "grey". Perhaps a ray of light shines when Lorna helps Claudy out of his habit and they ...; the next day she seems spontaneously happy, even her clothing seems to have colour (red). Fabio, as a perfect small time mobster, brings us back to reality. That (Lorna's) mental health is finally a casualty in this world without empathy should come as no surprise to us, wealthy bourgeoisie viewers: we don't face their problems and life without attributes, just "survival" in an urban setting. Notice the poverty of "symbols" at their house. Claudy only has his CDs (which only make him look even more childish) but Lorna's got... nothing. Few sparse clothing and a toothbrush. The ending is soaring indeed.
I can add little but to say that there are some loose threads, in my opinion a bit too loose but, as a friend said: "It's French cinema, what do you expect :)?" (The Russian plot being brought to a halt for ... reason, the split in the couple, the sudden idealization of Claudy, to the point of giving his "son" everything. It's obvious she won't get far having done what she did, but I guess we're into her head, which became rather cloudy near the end (so she being left "free" is just that, an illusion).
I'd have liked Sokol's character a bit more of screen time. He seems in love, then hurried back to work, then grouchy near the end, without any explanation of his jerky moods. Jérémie is a hell of a good actor. I didn't have much faith in him, but it's not his thinness, his tight jaw or stare into emptiness. He IS despair. Lorna...Arta Dobroshi had a "make or break" role here, and she delivered a thrilling performance. Nuanced, of a person probably without much "mystery" for our standards. But very real, as any low class suburbs in an industrialized country. She seems perfectly cast for the role. Yes, she's very beautiful, but her face not being perfect, her thinness being natural, not fit like Hollywood actresses (and without any aesthetic surgeries) all make for her a probably too nice "dry cleaner's", but nevertheless, believable in her constant strive for money (where to hide it, what to do with it, etc). The way the Moreau family treats her, even regarding $, is perfect. If only they knew... I like that Lorna is far from perfect. She was fed up of Claudy, even considering murder as "just another option". Yes, her sudden outburst of emotion gives some very timely "drama" to the plot :), but I feel it was worth it.
The naturalist script is what makes this film flow.
Music is great. Beethoven's Sonata 34 op. 111 by Alfred Brendel sounded outlandish, like it were part of another, more abstract world. It is a shocking contrast to the world down below, empty of any feelings. As such, I think it's a brilliant emotional resource.
- May 25, 2009