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The Silence of Lorna (2008)

Le silence de Lorna (original title)
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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... See full summary »

Writers:

(as Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne), (as Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne)
3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Alban Ukaj ...
Morgan Marinne ...
Spirou
...
L'inspecteur
Anton Yakovlev ...
Grigori Manoukov ...
Mireille Bailly ...
Monique Sobel
Stéphanie Gob ...
Nurse
Laurent Caron ...
Commissaire
Baptiste Somin ...
Morgue Attendant
Alexandre Trocky ...
Doctor
Cédric Lenoir ...
Bank Attendant
Cécile Boland ...
Female Doctor
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Storyline

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 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 boss, elaborates a clever scheme: he will pay Claudy to marry Lorna so that she acquires a Belgian citizenship. Then she is to re-marry Andrei, who will in this way obtain the coveted EU passport - and pay a hefty price to Fabio and Lorna for the service. Like all plans, this one will not survive the contact with reality. Written by Eduardo Casais <casaise@acm.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

money | bar | junkie | belgium | albanian | See All (57) »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief sexuality/nudity, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

| |

Release Date:

27 August 2008 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

El silencio de Lorna  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$34,411 (USA) (31 July 2009)

Gross:

$337,696 (USA) (27 November 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before being cast as Lorna, the only words Arta Dobroshi knew in French were the days of the week. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Silence, ça tue! (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Since You're Back In Town
By The Dinky Toys
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User Reviews

 
An interesting new approach for the Dardennes.
28 February 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

With Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's fifth feature film, Lorna's Silence, they decided to take a surprisingly unique approach to their style in that they made it look more like a film than anything they had done before. Gone are the intimate, gritty hand-held tracking shots that place the audience into the perspective of the characters and shoot from odd, seemingly improvised angles. Instead, each shot here is much more staged and deliberate, focused on Lorna (Arta Dobroshi) and making sure the audience is able to appreciate all of her surroundings in each moment. It was an interesting approach from the Dardennes and I have to admit a little jarring at first, but this step into a more conventional shooting style provided the film with a contrast from their previous work that I certainly appreciated.

As much as I adore their other work, it was nice to see them trying something new and ultimately it worked. The more conventional style does a service for the more conventional narrative structure of the film as well, as for the first time they work with a central plot that encompasses the entire picture, rather than focusing on a more free-formed character study. Lorna is an Albanian emigrant living in Belgium, in an arranged marriage to Claudy (Jeremie Renier) in order to acquire Belgian citizenship so that she can enter another arranged marriage with the Russian Andrei (Anton Yakovlev) after her and Claudy divorce. It's an elaborate scheme all run through Fabio (Fabrizio Rongione), a taxi driver looking to make some extra cash.

The setup is unexpectedly complex for the Dardennes, but what's not unexpected is how they approach the story primarily as a way to explore this character. They're not worried about whether the audience is keeping up with all of the semantics of the arranged marriages and divorces because they aren't too worried about it either; instead they're focused on how all of this is impacting Lorna, and that puts them right into their wheelhouse. In exploring this character, they take their trademark understated approach, letting the emotions sink in rather than explode outwardly. This provides for some fantastic internal acting by newcomer Arta Dobroshi, who shines even more tremendously in the few moments where she is able to let those emotions come out. The role marks a genuine "star is born" performance from Dobroshi, someone who we will hopefully be seeing much more of in the near future.

The supporting cast all puts in great work, but I have to give particular mention to Renier, who shines once again in an unusual way. The Dardennes have used Renier in four of their six feature films and it's easy to see why. Without changing his physical appearance remotely he is somehow able to be a complete chameleon in each of his roles. The way he holds himself, the way he moves, the way he approaches any given situation, each and every role he is a completely new person and it's extraordinary to watch because you don't see this guy acting at all. He is the true definition of an actor, one who strips away any semblance of himself and disappears entirely into each and every new performance he gives. You look at his work in L'Infant, this and the Dardennes next feature The Kid With A Bike and it's unbelievable the transformations he goes through.

One of the many interesting things here was the physicality of the film, how the muted emotions were able to manifest themselves in the physical moments such as Lorna slamming her head into a wall to prove that Claudy beats her or the raw and brazenly intimate sex scene. It's in these moments that the Dardennes' more authentic, quieter approach demonstrates it's true ability, making things that would seem ordinary in most films come as a shock and leave a lasting impact on the viewer.

I won't give anything away, but around the halfway point the film takes a turn that I wasn't expecting at all and completely through me for a loop. While the Dardennes had been traveling a more conventional path than usual, in the final act they take Lorna's journey to a decidedly unique place. Their originality shines bright in this final act, with scene after scene that had my jaw open simply over how innovative they had taken the story. I can't give anything away and ruin it for others, but Lorna's Silence began in a more traditional route than I had come to expect from the Dardenne brothers and ended up going somewhere even less conventional than we had seen from them before. Yet another tremendous achievement from two of the best writer/directors working today.


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