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The silence of conscience or of a dream,
This review is from: Silence Of Lorna [DVD]  (DVD)
The Dardennes Bros. latest is different than previous films,shot on 35mm film this time not close up,but more objectively and in Liege,the city, rather than rural town they usually film in.Also immigrants would go to a city.The theme is the commercialization of life at the margins to the characters in their films,when they come to see that human life is priceless.Lorna(Arta Dobroshi) is an Albanian immigrant living in Belgium in a fake marriage to a local drug addict,Claudy(Jeremie Renier),who dreams of leaving her dull, dry-cleaning job to set up a snack bar with her boyfriend,Sokol.Her arranger,Fabio(Fabrizio Rongone),the taxi-driver wants to kill Claudy with an OD, so she is a widow rather than divorcee.He has a wealthy Russian mobster lined up to be her next husband,so he can gain citizenship.She,however,contemptuous of Claudy at first and cold, sleeps separately and gets pulled in to his cold turkey needs when he pleads for her help like a wounded dog.She gets him hospitalized and helps him when he wants to kick the habit.She then resists the killing of Claudy and wants a quick divorce. Asking Fabio to ask the Russian for more time,she will get Claudy to beat her up to obtain a divorce.Fabio goes along with this.
But Claudy will not hit her and she tries to knock bruises into her flesh by hitting walls.Fabio says obtaining a divorce will cost her 5000 euros from the 10000 she'll get by marrying the Russian.Fabio wants to avoid divorce as it will involve the police,but she goes to the police to get her bruises recorded.She would also need witnesses. She asks a nurse dressing her wounds to be her witness. Lorna meets up with her boyfriend, Sokol, an Albanian immigrant periodically,shows him her new Belgium ID.He gives her money to put in their account towards the café. She is looking at snack bar addresses for a bank loan.Claudy's desire to kick his drug habit is problematical for her divorce proceedings.Lorna is torn between the dream of a better life and the awakening of conscience. She encourages Claudy to buy a bicycle after they make love.Her divorce is approved.Her boyfriend seems to be part of the scam with Fabio and she is repulsed by him...
There is a jarring transition in the film that is shocking to the viewer, and then she claims she is pregnant.She goes for a check up,but then pulls out of it,not wanting to know if she isn't pregnant.She had gone for an abortion,but now she wants to keep the baby.This pregnancy is more psychodynamic than real.There are many twists, turns and thriller elements in the last part.Lorna's silence is her lack of courage,the return of the ghost of Claudy in her belly is guilt.The coldness of Lorna is overcome by gentleness,she becomes attached to life and truth.At the end she runs through a forest with music ( Beethoven Piano Sonata)playing,allowing the spectator to share her thoughts.She is close to madness,lighting a fire for her baby in a hut,atoning for what she did to Claudy,holding on to her last shred of humanity.The meticulousy plotted screenplay won the award at Cannes. Dobroshi plays Lorna with wrapped up emotions revealing them at vital moments:she is both friendly,trustworthy-looking and very hard, and Renier plays the druggie with pitiable,needy despair.Although not one of their best, Dardennes have pitched us into the difficult decisions of deep moral conundrums and phantom doubts.Real film-making.