Zhenya and Boris are going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. Already embarking on new lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient to start again, to turn the page – even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears…
Loveless (Russian: Нелюбовь) is a 2017 Russian drama film directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. The story concerns two separated parents living apart whose affections are long forgotten and whose relationship has become loveless. They are temporarily brought together after their only young child becomes a missing person and they attempt to find him.
The film was shot in Moscow, with international support after the Russian government disapproved of Zvyagintsev’s 2014 film Leviathan. Loveless opened to critical acclaim and it won the Jury Prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. It is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
In Moscow, at the end of the school day, students are departing on their way home. One twelve year old boy, Alexey, decides to take an indirect path home rather than using the regular city streets. Alexey takes a path which leads him to walk by a local river in a wooded area just on the outskirts of town. He appears to be in no particular rush to get home. His parents, Zhenya and Boris, are in the midst of obtaining a divorce, with much animosity. They are portrayed as having divergent and incompatible personalities. Both are trying to form new lives in new relationships.
One day, it is discovered that the boy has disappeared from home, and his mother calls the police for assistance. At first, the police see this as the simple case of a runaway child and expect the boy to return home within a day or two. However, when Alexey does not return, then another supervisor takes over the case and promptly initiates a preliminary search for the boy by sending the parents to estranged relatives in the hope of locating him. They are first sent to see if Alexey is at his mother’s parents. Alexey is not there when they arrive, though their trip to visit her mother out of town is punctuated by tension between the estranged relatives and Boris is verbally berated and excoriated by Zhenya. On the return trip home, her verbal abuse escalates to the point that Boris discharges her on the rural roadway before they get back to town.
A couple going through a divorce must team up to find their son who has disappeared during one of their bitter arguments.
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