The Silence of Lorna
- Tom Dawson
- 11 December 2008
Compassionate chroniclers of those struggling to exist on the margins of society, Belgian sibling auteurs Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne return with their first feature to focus on a female protagonist since 1999’S Rosetta. The Lorna of the title is a young Albanian woman (played by Arta Dobroshi) living in Liege, where she dreams of opening a snack bar. To raise money for the necessary bank loan, she participates in a scam organised by petty criminal Fabio (Fabrizio Rongione).
With its Bressonian themes of guilt and redemption, the concentration on symbolic objects (in this case money, keys and mobile phones), the hardscrabble milieu in which a lonely soul rediscovers their humanity – there is no question that this is a Dardenne brothers’ film. But there is more plotting than in their previous works and the supporting characters have a greater significance. The brothers also take more risks in their storytelling, including unexpected developments, which illustrate their perennial concern with misery and sudden change. Their regular cinematographer Alain Marcoen’s work here is more restrained than usual, allowing the spectator a certain detachment from events. It’s also a tribute to the controlled intensity of Dobroshi’s performance that The Silence of the Lorna reveals itself to be a mysterious love story.
Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 2 Jan. Read exclusive Dardennes interview next issue.