Le silence de Lorna (2008) Poster

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The Price of Silence
ReganRebecca13 September 2008
The titular heroine of the Dardenne brothers latest movie is Lorna, a recent immigrant to Belgium who spends her days earning paychecks from a dry-cleaners while earning more substantial money by selling herself off as a bride to a Russian man looking to immigrate to Belgium himself. Before she can marry the Russian however, Lorna must obtain a divorce from her current husband, Claudy, a broken-down, pathetic, drug-addict who only married Lorna in order to obtain the cash to fund his habit.

The relationship between the young couple is complicated. Lorna, with a boyfriend back home and another potential husband eager to obtain Belgian citizenship waiting in the wings, has no romantic attachment to Claudy. Early scenes show her disgust and impatience for her lazy, feeble husband who does little more then shoot-up, play cards and follow her around like a puppy-dog. Nevertheless she can't help but feel sympathy towards the man she is using solely to obtain her citizenship. Claudy's feelings are equally muddled. He is aware that Lorna is using him and yet is devastated when she talks about divorce. He plays on his weaknesses to illicit Lorna's sympathy and then plagues her with childish demands. Their relationship, masterfully played out by Arta Dobroshi and returning Dardenne brother favourite Jérémie Renier, is utterly, intensely fascinating. They're both the victims and the aggressors in their relationship and who you root for and who you find repulsive flips frequently from scene to scene.

But the movie isn't focused on the relationship between Claudy and Lorna. As Lorna struggles to earn her money quickly she is forced to choose between protecting Claudy, whose desire to kick his drug-habit is problematic for her divorce proceedings, and her desire to protect her own small dream of owning a café with her long-distance boyfriend. Her optimism and strength are quickly torn apart when the man responsible for arranging both her marriages quickly yanks her down to reality by reminding her that she is little more then a pawn for people who want to cheat the system. The movie falls apart in the final third, the twists and turns a bit ridiculous given the slow, yet gripping, pace of the previous sections. And yet the movie is still compelling, quietly questioning a system in which people must go to such violent lengths in order to obtain simple and innocent desires.

The lack of music, gritty cinematography and superb acting all lend itself to the feelings of realism that pervade the film. The Dardenne brothers make us believe in Lorna's plight, her struggle between what she feels morally is right and the silence that will enable her to live out her dream.
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The exhilaration of someone growing before our eyes
Howard Schumann6 September 2009
The Dardenne Brothers have a habit of immersing us in the muck of life, then casually reminding us that, in case we forgot, we are surrounded by beauty. Their latest film, Lorna's Silence, is full of the trials of conflicted humanity with all too visible surface scars hiding its true nature. Set in the Belgian city of Liege, Lorna, an Albanian immigrant, is eager to realize her dream of owning a snack shop together with her boyfriend Sokol (Alban Ukaj), a long-distance truck driver. In order to pursue this goal, she has paid the sleazy mob-connected Fabio (Fabrizio Rongione) to arrange a marriage with a Belgian heroin addict, Claudy (Jérémie Renier), in exchange for Belgian citizenship.

After divorcing Claudy, Lorna's plan is to marry again, this time to a Russian mobster (Anton Yakovlev) so he can get his own papers. Luc Dardenne says that the idea for the film came from a social worker who told them about an incident in which her brother, a junkie, was offered a huge sum of money by the Albanian mafia to enter into a paper marriage with an Albanian prostitute. She would then divorce him for another wad of cash and be free to marry a member of the Albanian mafia, both becoming Belgian citizens in the process.

The early images are all about money. From the opening scene where bills are being counted, money is constantly being handed over, counted, refused, or buried in the ground. The cold expression on Lorna's face and her abruptness in conversation tells us almost immediately that the marriage is a fake. Lorna ignores Claudy's almost pathetic neediness while greed pervades the atmosphere. She fakes being physically abused by Claudy in order to secure evidence for a quickie divorce but Claudy is unwilling or unable to hurt her. In a scene marked by ghoulish humor, she slams herself into a door and bangs her head against a wall to fill her body with bruises.

Things become complicated, however, when Claudy vows to kick his drug habit and Lorna begins to care for him, resisting Fabio's attempts to eliminate him via a drug overdose. Dobroshi delivers an outstanding performance, as does Renier who has become one of the Dardennes' most confident regulars. Though the film is more plot-driven and the camera-work less oppressively intimate than some of the brothers' earlier films, Lorna's Silence is nonetheless a gripping, powerful drama, full of searing insight into the human condition. What is most important is not the story or the movement of the camera but the continuity of the theme of the awakening of conscience.

Just when we feel that the characters have no place to go but down, the Dardennes tear us away suddenly from our addiction to the physical and hurl us into a world of tenderness and infinite possibility. As Lorna senses that she is suddenly at risk, she seems to break through the cycle of futile actions that have marked her life and, even in the mundane task of gathering wood to build a fire, we sense the exhilaration of someone growing before our eyes. As the Dardennes invite us to step into a bigger world, we hear the closing reverie of Beethoven's other-worldly Piano Sonata No. 32 reminding us that we are tuned into what the Quaker poet Thomas Kelly has called "the silence which is the source of all sound".
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When humanity disappears..
Ilpo Hirvonen2 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Le silence de Lorna (Lorna's Silence) is the latest film by the great Dardenne brothers. They are modernizing cinema of today philosophically as they are narratively. Compared to another film by the brothers Le fils (2002) Le silence de Lorna is not as experimental, but at least as good, if not better. It's their first portrait of an adult woman and they succeed incredibly well as always. The film deals with the European identity of today, inhumanity in human trafficking, and puts us in front of a social question: how can humanity or any sort of morality remain in this cruel world we live in?

Lorna (Arta Dobroshi) is in her thirties living in Belgium and dreaming of a better life. She lives in an arranged marriage with a junkie, Claudy (Jérémie Renier). The man who runs the arranged marriage business, Fabio (Fabrizio Rongione) is planning to kill Claudy in hope of a better marriage deal. Fabio arranges men to marry Lorna for money so they can get a citizenship of Belgium. Le silence de Lorna deals with the subject of human trafficking; business where the price of human life isn't high. It all happens in front of our eyes but we aren't doing a thing. In the end it grows out to be a strong moral study and the influence Krzysztof Kieslowski has had on the brothers is obvious.

The Dardenne brothers are well known for their minimalism which can also be seen in Lorna's Silence. It doesn't have much music in it and the dialog is marginal - a lot from little is the core of minimalism. Luc Dardenne has said that he always listens to Beethoven before starting to work and, in the end, when the credits come on we get to listen Beethoven. The brothers have said that the more you take material away the closer you get to humane experiences. Their films are filled with body language, gestures and close camera-work. The cinematography is unique and reinforces the position of a camera as an instrument for philosophy. They follow their characters closely and through that let us observe the situations they get into, the situations in which they are prisoners of. The camera let's you to get into the minds of the characters. The camera sees what the character sees, it doesn't know what happens outside of the character's world - so what has been cloaked from us?

The leading themes of the story are humanity, detachment, guilt, inhumanity and the European identity of today. The subject is very current in the age we live in. As I earlier mentioned Le silence de Lorna brings up a question how humanity can survive in the world of human trafficking. All the people in the business are portrayed as inhumane and careless. Where the victim of the business (the junkie) is portrayed as innocent. The eternal battle between good and evil is just one of the references to religion. Even that the brothers are atheists they had a strong catholic upbringing which can clearly be seen in their work. God is dead in their world view but they often use Christian allegories to reconstruct new humane experiences.

In the end where Fabio hears that Lorna is pregnant and won't have an abortion he wants to get rid off her. We see Lorna getting away with her baby, going into a detached house in the woods - the culmination of theme detachment. It is quite obvious that Lorna isn't really pregnant. The baby is just a symbol. It's a memory of the past; of Cloudy and how it was Lorna's fault that he got killed. The baby is actually the guilt she's carrying.

A marvelous film about the loss of humanity. I just saw it in theaters today and it went straight to my top ten of the decade. This film is very energetic, the movement in it worked brilliantly and as the brothers have admitted; movement is much more important than the plot in their films. Le silence de Lorna is a thought-provoking experience about the world we live in, our concept of moral and the European identity.
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Immigration Issues: Money/Crime/Commitment/Love
gradyharp5 April 2010
LORNA'S SILENCE is a film that very quietly grabs you by the throat and makes you pay attention to the stories of several emigrants that spin out of control. It is written and directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne with an eye for verismo in the seamier side of the immigration problems.

The story is set in Belgium where Lorna (Arta Dobroshi) works at a dry cleaners then goes home to her 'husband' Claudy (Jérémie Renier), a junkie who has been duped by Lorna and her little crime gang of cab driver Fabio (Fabrizio Rongione) and her boyfriend Sokol (Alban Ukaj)into marrying Lorna so that the Albanian girl can gain Belgian citizenship. Claudy seems a hopeless case, in withdrawal for the umpteenth time but committed to getting off heroin. He pleads with his 'arranged wife' to help him with his attempt to get clean. Meanwhile Fabio has other plans: Lorna is to 'marry' a wealthy Russian mobster to gain Belgian citizenship (a second arranged marriage) and in order for the second marriage to occur, Lorna must consent to letting Claudy overdose on heroin and die, making her a widow eligible for marriage. The other side story is that Lorna, now a Belgian citizen, can proceed with Sokol to set up a snack shop with Sokol using all the money she gains from the 'marriage game'.

All is well until Claudy convinces Lorna to help him get to a hospital and get 'clean' and along the way Lorna's feelings for Claudy turn to compassion and passion. An incident occurs that throws all of the plans to the wind and Lorna is left with her secret and will hopefully manage to find a stable life without the crime influence.

The acting is first rate and the moody atmosphere created is spellbinding. This is a little film that has a lot to say about the plight of immigrants.

Grady Harp
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An interesting new approach for the Dardennes.
Rockwell_Cronenberg28 February 2012
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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Touches with an unflinching stare at the harsh reality
Harry T. Yung2 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Cannes follower will probably remember Belgium directors Dardenne Brother's Golden Palm winner "The Child" (2005). "Lorna's silence", latest Cannes winner (best screenplay) from them features again male lead Jeremie Renier who plays yet another "fringe" character, but of a different variety (irresponsible juvenile the last time; junkie this time). The female lead Arta Dobroshi however is a new face, chosen after a meticulous selection process.

The realistic world that underlies the plot is the illegal immigration business in Belgium, through sham marriages. In some cases, the customer, after securing the Belgium identity card, becomes a "service provider", in both cases through the arrangement of an underground organization. Lorna (Dobroshi) is such a case. In the context of this film, the life of Lorna evolves around three men: Claudy (Renier) the hired husband who got her into Belgium from Albania, Sokol her lover who is away most of the time seeking work and Spirou the goon who arranged her sham marriage with Claudy and is now employing her service for a new customer: a wealthy Russian.

Unlike Hollywood melodramas, the story here unfolds with relentless, grim reality as Spirol plans to kill Claudy (using drug overdose) to make way for the Russian while Lorna tries to achieve the same result by a lengthy and frustrating process of divorce application. In her race against time, she also develops, quite reluctantly, affection for Claudy who successfully quits the drug addiction.

The film has much to offer: sharp depiction of a deficient society, keen observation and thoughtful development of characters, skillful, lean cinematic narration (comparable to Hemmingway's prose). It touches by an unflinching stare at life rather than contriving manipulation of the audiences' emotion
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Lorna's secret
R. Ignacio Litardo25 May 2009
Another powerful Dardenne brothers "social cinema".

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.
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Another superb film by the Dardenne Brothers
Red-12512 March 2012
The Belgian film "Le silence de Lorna" was shown with the title "Lorna's Silence" (2008) in the U.S. The movie is co-written and co-directed by the brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

The protagonist, Lorna, who is from Albania, has made a pact with the devil. It involves her marriage of convenience to a Belgian citizen, so that she can become a Belgian citizen. Once she becomes a citizen, the plan is to remove her husband. Then, in another marriage of convenience, Lorna, as a widow, can marry a Russian who in turn will become a Belgian citizen. Lorna wants to become a citizen so that she can obtain a loan to open a snack shop in Belgium. She wants the cash for startup money.

The plot is crafted by a Belgian cabdriver, who has no compunction about doing whatever it takes to move up in the gangster world. If Lorna's husband, a drug addict, has to be eliminated, that's not a problem.

So, everyone has dreams--of cash, of a snack shop, of citizenship, of underworld advancement.

The problem is that the drug addict, Claudy, is obviously in love with Lorna, and he's desperately trying to stay clean. Lorna has sympathy for this needy, suffering young man, and she'd like to adjust the pact with the devil to somehow spare him. However, what she learns is that the devil doesn't like people who want to change the pact.

Arta Dobroshi, as Lorna is, indeed, from the Balkans. (So, it's not a stretch for French speakers to accept her authentic accent.) Ms. Dobroshi is a superb actor, and gives a brilliant performance as a woman who is basically decent, but finds herself in a less-than-decent situation.

Jérémie Renier is excellent as her husband, Claudy. My wife and I admired his work before in another Dardenne brothers film--"La Promesse." It's really easy for Claudy to slip back into addiction, and it's really hard to stay clean, but he can do it if Lorna helps him.

The Dardenne brothers specialize in films where bad things happen, often to good people. The curator who introduced the film said that the Dardenes specialize in films that offer no hope, but I don't fully agree. They specialize in hard films where tragedy is never far away, but the films do hold out hope for redemption. This is not always enough, but it's better than nothing.

We saw the film on the large screen at the excellent Dryden Theatre in George Eastman House in Rochester. However, it should work well on DVD.
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The Albanian
jotix10015 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Dardenne brothers, those impressive Belgian filmmakers, are at it again. This is a sort of a departure for them, although their keen insight about people of a certain status has been shown before, perhaps with better results. As it's their style, the film is devoid of music. Their camera has a way to offer the viewer an insight on the character he is seeing on the screen. Make no mistake, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne are at the top of their profession by presenting films that no one else would dare to show, and above all, they make the viewer get another take of life, the way they see it.

That said, "Le silence de Lorna" takes us to meet people that are so completely different, yet, not because of that, they don't feel real, on the contrary. The situation at hand involves a young Albanian woman, Lorna, who has married Claudy, a Belgian drug addict in order to get the citizenship papers. It is obvious their arrangement was purely a monetary one. Lorna, who has an Albanian boyfriend, Sokol, hangs out with the wrong crowd in Liege. Her association with them will not end happily.

Lorna's connection, the reptile Fabio and his underling Spirou pressure Lorna into marrying a Russian mafia bigwig so that he can get the Belgian passport. Lorna, like so many other immigrants, wants to save her money to open a small snack bar with Sokol. She is sidetracked by what Fabio wants her to do. In fact, Lorna is torn between trying to save Claudy, who faces a possible death, and get her dreams come true.

The film owes a lot to Arta Dobroshi, a dark haired beauty who is at the center of the story. Jeremie Renier, who has done wonderful turns for the director-brothers is seen as drug addict, Claudy. Fabio Rongione appears as Fabio.

We look forward to the brothers' next venture because their films always leaves the viewer richer knowing first hand about real people.
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What a terrific film!
alan_pavelin9 August 2010
Having now seen it twice - what a terrific film! Arta Dobroshi is literally on screen for every single scene, and for all but a few seconds of the film: an amazing performance. When will we see more of her? The subject-matter is pretty grim, and not for those who like only romcoms and the like. I love all the Dardenne brothers films: Rosetta, The Son, and The Child, which rivals Lorna for their best in my view. Their usual trademarks are here, hand-held cameras following the characters round, usually in close-up; drab industrial surroundings (the town of Liege I believe); characters on the margins of society, including here a dodgy Russian with his interpreter. A great movie.
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Belgian Existentialism:Take 364
druid333-221 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Belgian film making brothers,Jean Pierre & Luc Dardenne have done it again. With a respective body of works that span some thirty,or so years,starting with some documentary shorts,mainly for Belgian television,to some toothsome fare,such as 'The Child (L'enfant)','Rosetta' & 'The Promise',they have crafted a well written portrait of an Albanian woman,named Lorna (played by Albanian actress, Arta Dobroshi),who is living in Brussels and trying to become a full time citizen (we are never told why she fled from Albania). She is married (in name only)to Claudy (played by Jeremie Renier)who is a junkie that is always looking for his next fix of Heroin. Her friend from back home,Sokol (played by fellow Albanian,Alban Ukaj)is always on the make for one money making scheme,after another (and most using Lorna as a means to an end). When Claudy dies from a Heroin overdose, it's up to Sokol to try & arrange another marriage for Lorna,this time to an Russian illegal immigrant. Does Loran go through with it,or does she finally get tired of Sokol's controlling ways? The film lives up to it's namesake in at least two ways (Lorna's life seems to be a closed book,plus the sparse use of music on the soundtrack is a metaphor,as well). The photography really works for this film (the film at times seems to be devoid of colour,to the extent that it seems to be shot in black & white,although Lorna herself seems to have a penchant for wearing the colour red a lot). This is a very well written & directed film from two brothers that know how to tell a story (as bleak as they tend to be,which usually always makes for great drama). Spoken in French,Albanian & Russian with English subtitles. Rated 'R' by the MPAA for some nudity,brief sexuality & language,and a bit of violence (but nothing too gory). Leave the little ones home (who would probably be bored by it,anyway,as the pacing is somewhat slow).
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Lorna's Scream
blandiefam1 March 2011
To see the movement in this film , you become a part of it's pace. It's smoky cold feel of the spaces explored in this film allows you to immerse yourself into the the whole international thing. Being an American I tend to love the patience taken in these French films. They are woven and character developments take more value than just a get to the point story with a predictable ending. As usual in French movies, symbolism takes precedence over story. Still, reality is quite evident in the grim concepts displayed. Being of first generation immigrants,I can identify with the premise and the desperation involved. The lead character is brilliant in the way she gives less yet give so much in her subtle expressions. The direction is superb and the storyline leaves you wanting more. Many directors with this consistent success may often relax in their past laurels but the careful development of the pace of this murky tale is quite endearing.I would strongly recommend this movie for those who are plain cinema lovers.
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A powerful and memorable film experience
Argemaluco6 September 2010
Co-directors and co-screenwriters Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne are perennial favorites from Cannes and other prestigious film festivals, and even though their most recent film Lorna's Silence disappointed to various fans of European art-house cinema, I liked it very much, mainly because of its hypnotic narrative and brilliant performances; both aspects seem simple and minimalistic on their shape, but they deeply express unexpected levels of complexity and emotion.

The Dardenne bros. are obvious heirs of the thematic and stylistic legacy of the cinema from the French "new wave"; so, Lorna's Silence fits into the archetype of the deep and serious European cinema, whose intentions are very different to the ones we are accustomed to see in North American cinema.That may make the film a bit inaccessible to some people, but personally, I appreciated that very much, because it offers something different to the Hollywood drama and its predictable formulas.The only thing I could say against this movie is that I would have preferred the ending to be less ambiguous; nevertheless, that is a minor complaint.

So, I very enthusiastically recommend Lorna's Silence to those people who are not afraid of watching a film which is very distant to what we are accustomed to see in Hollywood dramas.I admit that my expectations before watching Lorna's Silence were very low, because I usually do not like those sordid dramas about suffering and sadness which do not lead anywhere (such as, for example, The Burning Plain or 21 Grams).Now, I see that that perception can change when there are genuine filmmakers with the intention of enlarging our understanding of cinematographic art behind the cameras, instead of pretentious directors and screenwriters who desperately try to win the Oscar.In summary, Lorna's Silence is a powerful and memorable film experience which has a lot to offer to the spectator.
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Expertly made, burning Belgian drama exploring dilemmas; excruciating processes and powerful morals.
johnnyboyz23 October 2010
When we first see the protagonist of 2008 Belgian film The Silence of Lorna, they are flitting around the general area in which they habit; darting from the shops, back through the streets and then home again to an unwelcoming and droll apartment. Their partner is home, smoking and listening to loud rock music. The partner apologises and tells the lead that they'll stop going out and doing what it is they're doing, an exchange that we feel may have just played out for the umpteenth time. The home quarters are colourless and drab, the walls undecorated and furniture sparse – perhaps they've just moved in, perhaps they're really poor or maybe something more sinister is going on. We wonder what the ragged looking partner does that forces them to be as apologetic as they are, the suggestion that they play a friendly game of cards together might itself suggest a gambling problem; the manner in which the partner is shot, that is to say from behind, gets across a sense of anonymity or alienation about them on first sighting, particularly in regards to how the character feels towards them. Very quickly, the Dardenne brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc have caught us up in the world of these people through their realist style and wonderful techniques; a sensation that does not abate until the very end.

The lead is the titular Lorna (Dobroshi), a young woman; an Albanian immigrant living illegally within the Belgian city of Leige and in a false, loveless marriage to the aforementioned partner who's named Claudy (Renier). Lorna's a simple enough girl with relatively attainable aspirations although living amidst a complicated scheme, her tone quiet; her dress sense normalised and in Kosovo born actress Arta Dobroshi, an uncomplicated; unspectacular; unknown acting quantity whom carries a close to all but innocent expression on her face throughout as grins at the situation she's in and bears it. Lorna already has a partner away from Claudy whom is also Albanian, a man named Sokol (Ukaj), and has her eye on a disused structure sitting idly on a plot of land that she one day hopes to turn into a snack bar-come-restaurant with him so as to bring in the cash. Her confidant is a local gangster with broader connections to a Russian criminal organisation; somebody we feel she'd have absolutely nothing to do with ordinarily – a cab driver named Fabio (Rongione) whom is able to access her the necessary items needed to live in Belgium out from under this shroud of seediness and falsity.

The film is a wonderful, involving mediation on the morality that comes with most of the actions, reactions and scenarios of what Lorna is facing within the film. Living with a man as unappealing as she does; using somebody else for her own gain and breaking international rules so as to be in a designated place are crimes she has either committed or is on the way to committing before the film has even begun. Complications that arise later on with the organisation of somebody's death stretch the band a tad too much for poor Lorna, and it's then she realises the trouble her actions have put both her, and those around her, in. The Dardenne's balance this agonising central character study and the torn morals that come with it with the back-burning gangsters whom oppose Lorna's anti cut-throat ideas of divorce because they incur police involvement. The result is a beautifully crafted and solid piece of drama that's gripping from its humble beginnings right through to its terrifying finale.

By day, Lorna works in a laundromat steaming sheets and pressing clothes and so forth. The job entails pressing out and washing out both the grime and creases from numerous sheets which come in, something that echos what she has going on in her private life as her very soul begins to collect the grime and the creases that come with operating within the world she's operating and dealing with the people she's dealing. The grime threatens to reach a breaking point, so much so that a ploy to organise a case of faux-domestic abuse involving Claudy may just be enough to at least save his life as the Russians plan to simply have him overdose; a death which is clearly a step too far from Lorna's perspective and something far too weighty for her conscience to take.

The film is a quietly murky piece, and it's this event which does so well in capturing this overlying canopy. Lorna and Claudy being forced by way of the state of desperation they're in to forge a domestic abuse scenario in which one is the victim and one the aggressor. The agonising planning of this event; the excruciating practising of it that must be completed prior to the execution proper and then the fallout which unfolds as a result of it are individual instances that manifest because of what these desperate characters have got themselves involved in. This being a film about process, about processes and the tortuous carrying out of a number of procedures so as to hopefully spawn a fresher, more hopeful dawn is captured wonderfully by the two sibling directors. There's a coldness to proceedings, a detached sense of everybody within the film not liking one another at all although never daring to actually admit it with the long takes that're applied handled expertly: the emotions of pain; frustration; anger and weakness which begins to manifest within numerous characters gradually rearing themselves on the faces within. The film is a brilliant character study, an unnerving thriller and a quite brilliant piece.
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The Silence of the Lamb?
gudpaljoey-677-71538414 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I wonder if the makers of "Lorna" had that title in mind, considering the moment in another great movie when the lead actor reveals the great pain of her past life. In both cases, the focus is on the slaying of innocence. Some of the criticism of the picture, another wonderful film from the Dardenne Brothers, has pointed to a disappointing ending. I didn't find that to be the case. As we see her guilt develop, the stubborn efforts to dissolve her sham marriage with the junkie, Claudy, rather than see him killed, she recognizes their connection, an addiction, his for drugs, hers for money, both pawns in the criminal plot hatched by others. When she fails to save him, an awkward jump in the picture from him riding away on a bicycle to news of his murder, Lorna's guilt is internalized in a delusion of carrying his child, her way of having him live and salving her guilt. When the deal goes bad because of her, she knows she will be killed also. But she will fight to stay alive, not for herself, but for the life she believes she is carrying. Yes, like their other pictures, this one is something of a religious allegory, but what's wrong with that?
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morninglory250416 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Very minor spoiler ahead: Monumentally depressing. It was a great movie, really effective. You really get to care about the key characters which is why it's so heart-wrenching by the end. Very well-done. It was superbly acted, especially the female lead. She was very good. She could convey so much without delivering a single line. I would definitely look for other movies she was in. Not to mention the actor who played her husband. But still... I wish i hadn't watched it at all. SUCH a downer. If you want to feel moody and depressed, definitely give this a watch. If you want a happy ending? Do yourself a favor, go watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit or something.
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Needed a Much Better Ending!
Syl17 May 2013
Lorna is well played by the actress. Lorna is a complicated woman who is involved in a game between the Belgian underground and marrying a Russian mobster. The only problem is that she is married to a drug addict who needs to die. She is also in love with a man named Sokol. She dreams of running a snack bar or cafe rather than working at the laundromat. But things slowly go awry when she can't a divorce fast enough. Her current husband wants to quit and go clean. Lorna gets paid for the marriage and the arrangement with the Russian mobster. Along the way, we learn Lorna's ethnic background and her motives. The film's ending needs to be more clear. We will never know the future for Lorna at the end and that's troubling.
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An Albanian immigrant in Belgium pays a junkie to marry her so she can get her citizenship. Things go south from there.
treywillwest31 July 2011
Involving, powerful story with great acting and one profoundly erotic sequence. I think the Dardennes are so in love with Bresson that they are trying to emulate his creative arc. "La Promesse" and "L'Enfent" were a reflection of early "naturalistic" Bresson- a la "Diary of a Country Priest". With this, I would say, the Dardennes move into mid-period Bresson territory: think "Mouchette" or "Balthasar". I liked the Dardennes' earlier films a lot. But they were perhaps a bit too restrained. Hardly this one. Two thirds into the film this previously humane, contemplative work goes all subjective and crazy. Powerful, but only semi-coherent.
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Another Solid French Drama
pc9513 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
As usual, French Cinema scores quite well, and this movie is not exception. "Lorna's Silence" runs very well, especially the first 3/4 of the movie. We see the emotional beating the protagonist Lorna deals with as she's gotten herself in a jagged situation. The character development is well thought out, and her reactions to situations is believable and interesting. Arta Dobrowshi is magnetic on the screen. The underworld of drugs, crime, and fraud wears her down, and we witness her decline sympathetically. (spoiler) Towards the end of the movie, the dread and feeling of entrapment is tangible and clear. The only drawback for me was the resolution of the story, sort of cut-off. Still Recommended.
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I'll take care of you.
lastliberal26 May 2010
Dry cleaner by day, and bride by night, Lorna (Arta Dobroshi) makes a whole lot more turning over husbands who want to live in Belgium.

Her current husband, Claudy (Jeremie Renier) is a drug addict. The marriage was arranged by Fabio (Fabrizio Rongione), a real low life. She needs to get out of this marriage to marry a Russian who wants residence. Fabio will take care of that.

In the meantime, she and her boyfriend Sokol (Alban Ukaj) are saving money and making plans to open a sandwich shop. She hopes the next marriage is the last and she will be free.

Jeremie Renier plays a very good role. He wants to quit, but his incessant needs wear Lorna down.

Arta Dobroshi is excellent. She is being used by Fabio just because she is a woman. He is only interested in money.

Lorna is a victim of circumstances, and definitely a survivor.

A great character driven film.
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"Quietly and gracefully compassionate..."
Sindre Kaspersen20 September 2013
Belgian screenwriters, producers and directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's seventh feature film which they wrote and co-produced, premiered In competition at the 61st Cannes International Film Festival in 2008, was screened in the Masters section at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival in 2008, was shot on location in Belgium and is a Belgium-France-Italy-Germany co-production which was produced by French producer Denis Freyd. It tells the story about a philanthropic Albanian woman named Lorna whom is searching for happiness in Western-Europe where she is living with a Belgian citizen named Claudy whom she has married to gain a residence permit. Lorna has emigrated with her boyfriend named Sokol from their home-place and with him she has great plans about starting an incoming business, but to realize her ambitions she has to let cynicism into her life.

Distinctly and engagingly directed by Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the main character's point of view, draws a dense and invariably involving portrayal of a woman in a foreign country who wants to achieve happiness at any cost and who gets to see another face of happiness when her road towards her destination demands that she renounces her humanity. While notable for its naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions, reverent and low-keyed cinematography by Belgian cinematographer Alain Marcoen, production design by production designer Igor Gabriel and use of sound and colors, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about an immigrant in a paper marriage with her heart in the right place and good intentions, whom whilst reaching out for her dream has to sacrifice her integrity and cross moral boundaries which will harm her and lead her into a path of deception and crime, depicts an incisively psychological and heartrending study of character.

This sociological, humane, situational and conversational drama triangle from the late 2000s which is set in the city of Liège in Belgium and where an individual who despite resistance from all borders chooses to believe that happiness is possible no matter what one's conditions are, is impelled and reinforced by its stringent narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, underlying moral substance, distinct realism and the prominently authentic acting performances by Kosovar actress Arta Dobroshi and Belgian actor Jérémie Renier. A quietly and gracefully compassionate character piece from two masterful filmmakers which gained, among other awards, the award for Best Screenplay Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne at the 61st Cannes Film Festival in 2008.
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