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A celebrated Russian director widens his lens

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IN THE opening frames of “Loveless”, Andrei Zvyagintsev’s new film, the camera looks up at a denuded tree against a wintry sky. After this barren view come shots of a lifeless, snow-bound park. Yet when the action begins it is autumn, not winter; not on the outside, at least.

The freeze seems symbolic. In fact, says Mr Zvyagintsev, it was an accident. “Winter played a tragic role in our film,” he says impishly—because the snow fell earlier than expected, disrupting the production schedule. As for the chilling opening shots, he took them on a whim, without knowing what to do with them. Still, he acknowledges, offering up interpretations even as he disavows them, others might infer that “political winter has dawned” or that the snows “cover over the traces” of wrongdoing. “We don’t just watch the films,” he says; “the films watch us.”

“Loveless” has been nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign-language…Continue reading

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