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Le silence de Lorna (2008)

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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:

Jean-Pierre Dardenne (as Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne), Luc Dardenne (as Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne)
3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arta Dobroshi ... Lorna
Jérémie Renier ... Claudy Moreau
Fabrizio Rongione ... Fabio
Alban Ukaj Alban Ukaj ... Sokol
Morgan Marinne Morgan Marinne ... Spirou
Olivier Gourmet ... L'inspecteur
Anton Yakovlev Anton Yakovlev ... Andrei
Grigori Manoukov Grigori Manoukov ... Kostia
Mireille Bailly Mireille Bailly ... Monique Sobel
Stéphanie Gob Stéphanie Gob ... Nurse
Laurent Caron Laurent Caron ... Commissaire
Baptiste Somin Baptiste Somin ... Morgue Attendant
Alexandre Trocky Alexandre Trocky ... Doctor
Cédric Lenoir Cédric Lenoir ... Bank Attendant
Cécile Boland 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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Belgium | France | Italy | Germany

Language:

French | Albanian | Russian

Release Date:

27 August 2008 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

El silencio de Lorna See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,411, 2 August 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$337,696, 29 November 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Expertly made, burning Belgian drama exploring dilemmas; excruciating processes and powerful morals.
23 October 2010 | by johnnyboyzSee all my reviews

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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