Non-Love in a Non-Place: Liminality and Dislocation in Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Loveless
AuthorLagerberg, R; McGregor, A
Source TitleInternational Journal of Russian Studies
PublisherInternational Journal of Russian Studies
AffiliationSchool of Languages and Linguistics
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsLagerberg, R. & McGregor, A. (2021). Non-Love in a Non-Place: Liminality and Dislocation in Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Loveless. International Journal of Russian Studies, 10 (1), pp.18-28
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access URLPublished version
In this article Andrei Zvyagintsev’s film Loveless (2017) is analysed from the angle of domestic space using the theoretical prism of liminality and non-places. It is argued that, while the concept of home may be defined as private and personal, as opposed to public and impersonal, the domestic space in this film, far from being a comforting and reassuring destination in itself, can be read as liminal, as transitory, as a space ‘in-between’ or, indeed, a space which, ideally, should be a sanctuary, but which is, in fact, vulnerable to external forces. The article also examines Loveless in the light of Marc Augé’s seminal work, Non-places: An Introduction to Supermodernity, in particular the extent to which his theory of non-places may, in certain instances in this supermodern globalised world, be as applicable to the domestic space as it is to the increasingly ubiquitous and liminal public spaces of airports, hotels, shopping centres and other typical non-places. It is demonstrated that, as in Zvyagintsev’s earlier films Elena (2011) and Leviathan (2014), Loveless uses a framing technique which highlights the centrality of domestic space in the film. From the outset, the film is concerned with the ‘in-betweenness’ of the characters’ lives, and domestic space plays a key role in this, although it is not consciously sought or coveted by the characters, but rather a consequence of their actions. It is argued that tragedy is not a feature of Loveless: in its place are incomplete transitions, rites of passage awaiting their natural fulfilment. It is this dislocation and liminality which pervades the entire atmosphere of the film and gives it its almost unbearable sense of foreboding.
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