Cannes Film Review: ‘Loveless’

'Loveless' Review from Cannes: Andrey Zvyagintsev's

 

Alexey Zvyagintsev’s stark tale of a divorcing couple is a missing- child procedural that meditates on the corruption of Russia.

“Loveless,” the title of the compelling and forbidding new movie by the Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev (“Leviathan,” “Elena”), seems, for a while, to refer to the state of the relationship between the film’s two main characters, a Moscow couple who are on the verge of divorcing. Boris (Alexei Rozin), bearded and officious, a kind of mildly saddened Teddy bear, and Zhenya (Maryana Spivak), beautiful and knife-edged, with a buried despair of her own, still live together in the same apartment. But they’re trying to sell it off as quickly as possible, because they can barely come up with three words of civility between them.

Their marriage, or what’s left of it, has reached the toxic point of no return. No one understands this better than Alyosha (Matvey Novikov), their pale and passive 12-year-old son, who doesn’t do much besides stare at his computer between crying fits. When Alyosha disappears without a trace, his emotionally estranged parents have to come together to search for him. But no, “Loveless” isn’t a story about how the search for Alyosha brings Boris and Zhenya closer together, or makes them take stock and stop hating each other. What the movie is about, in a way that’s both potent and oblique, is something larger than the charred ashes of one dead marriage.

There have always been oppressive societies that clamp down on filmmaking, but allow just enough wiggle room of expression for a shrewd — and poetic — artist to say what’s on his mind. That was true in the Communist Czechoslovakia of the 1970s, or in the Iran of the last 30 years. It’s true, as well, of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. As a filmmaker, Andrey Zvyagintsev can’t come right out and declare, in bright sharp colors, the full corruption of his society, but he can make a movie like “Leviathan,” which took the spiritual temperature of a middle-class Russia lost in booze and betrayal, and he can make one like “Loveless,” which takes an ominous, reverberating look not at the politics of Russia but at the crisis of empathy at the culture’s core.

Boris and Zhenya have both moved on to other relationships, which are far more affectionate than the one they’re in, so that seems to be a sign of hope; after divorce comes a new beginning. Boris is with the perky, very pregnant Masha (played by Marina Vasilyeva, who suggests an Eastern European Michelle Williams), and Zhenya, between visits to the salon and a consuming relationship with her smartphone, has found the man who answers her dreams, or at least her needs: the wealthy, handsome, doting, middle-aged Anton (Andris Keishs). Love, it seems, is possible. But what kind of love?

Zvyagintsev colors in a whole society’s romantic neurosis, and he does it with the details along the sidelines. Boris has to keep his divorce hidden at his corporate sales office, because the boss is a fundamentalist Christian. (If Boris isn’t married with children, he’ll be out of a job.) Zhenya’s lover, on the other hand, has given her entré to the one-percent echelon of the new gilded Russia. The film introduces us to it in a telling moment at an outrageously ritzy restaurant where the camera lingers on a woman flirtatiously giving out her phone number…before sitting back down to dinner across from the man she’s come with. That moment speaks volumes — about a clawing-to-the-top ethos of desperate avarice that scarcely leaves room for “romance.”

So what does all this have to do with a missing child? Everything, it turns out. “Loveless” has been made in a forceful and deliberate socialist-realist Hitchcockian style that recalls the most celebrated films of the Romanian new wave (“4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days”; “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”). The disappearance of Alyosha hangs over the movie and haunts it, and on some level it’s a missing-child procedural. Yet what’s meaningful is the way that he disappeared: He was left unsupervised, and his mother, coming home at night, assumed that he was in his room and didn’t bother to check in on him. A minor mistake…and an epic instance of neglect.

The Moscow police, who lean toward thinking that he has run away (because if so, the statistics suggest he’ll likely return, and they won’t have to add to their caseload), can’t do a lot, and a local citizens’ group is more proactive. They scour the area in their orange jackets and fatigues, leaving no stone unturned. As all of this goes on, the title of “Loveless” begins to expand. A society rooted in corruption becomes a petri dish for a loveless marriage that spawns a family in which a child isn’t loved — that is, looked after — in the right way. And the result, seemingly out of nowhere (but not really), is tragic.

The dramatic aesthetic of a movie like “Loveless” — rock-solid yet leisurely in its observance, grounded yet metaphorical — makes it a quietly commanding film, but it’s not clear, at least in the United States, that there’s much of an art-house audience left for a movie like this one. It culminates (in a resonant final shot), but it’s doesn’t always powerfully deliver. It’s a meditation as much as it is a relationship drama. That said, almost anyone who sees it is sure to recognize the virus it diagnoses, which is hardly limited to Russia. The forces that conspire in the fraying of love are now everywhere.

[“source-ndtv”]

Top Republican recorded suggesting that Putin pays Trump

House majority leader Kevin McCarthy.

House majority leader Kevin McCarthy. Photograph: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

In a 2016 conversation with fellow members of House leadership, majority leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putin’s payroll.

In an exchange first reported by the Washington Post, McCarthy said: “There’s…there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump…[laughter]…swear to God.”

According to the transcript, speaker Paul Ryan immediately responded: “This is an off the record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?!”

On Wednesday night, Ryan’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, said in a statement to the Guardian: “This entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor. No one believed the majority leader was seriously asserting that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians.”

He added: “What’s more, the speaker and leadership team have repeatedly spoken out against Russia’s interference in our election, and the House continues to investigate that activity.”

Both Buck and a spokesman for McCarthy initially denied the remarks; the Washington Post listened to and verified an audio recording of the conversation. McCarthy’s spokesman did not respond to the Guardian for a request for comment. However, he tweeted: “This was an attempt at humor gone wrong. No surprise @WashingtonPost tried to contort this into breaking news.”

Trump’s ties to Russia have been the subject of bipartisan concern and, on Wednesday, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to investigate those as well as Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.

The conversation came shortly after both McCarthy and Ryan had been briefed by the Ukrainian prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, about Russian attempts to undermine democratic institutions in eastern Europe, and a day after it was reported that Russia had successfully hacked the DNC.

At the time, Ryan had still not endorsed Trump but McCarthy had already signed up to become a Trump delegate to the RNC and formally endorsed the real estate developer’s campaign.

At least some Democrats raised concerns about the statement. California congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the House intelligence committee, said the remark raised questions about whether the majority leader has additional information on the “relationship the president had with president Putin”.

“If it was said they had their own concerns and so far they have done nothing to address concerns about the president’s ties to Russia,” Swalwell told reporters. “So I just want to know, were these concerns based on separate information that the majority leader had or had been told?”

Rohrabacher, who has a history of expressing support for the Putin regime and has been described as “Putin’s favorite congressman”, told the Guardian Wednesday night that McCarthy reassured him it was a joke.

He said that the majority leader approached him on the floor during votes on Wednesday evening to ensure that he knew that the remark was intended as a joke.

“Kevin didn’t mean any harm, I’m sure,” said Rohrabacher told reporters.

“You have to be very careful when you’re using humor,” Rohrabacher said, recalling a joke he made during a hearing.

“I remember I was trying to make fun of the scientist who claimed that cow farts make global warming,” Rohrabacher said. “And so at a hearing I said, ‘Oh do you think maybe the dinosaurs disappeared because of dinosaur flatulence?’”

To this day, he said environmentalists still fault him for believing “that dinosaur flatulence killed the dinosaurs”.

[“source-ndtv”]

Girl, 13, Begged Father For Money To Treat Cancer. Video Viral After Death

Girl, 13, Begged Father For Money To Treat Cancer. Video Viral After Death

Sai Shri’s parents had been separated for eight years and she had been living with her mother

“Daddy…please do something and save me” – says a 13-year-old girl in an incredibly tragic WhatsApp video to her father, begging him for money for her cancer treatment. Young Sai Shri died on Sunday in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada, but her tearful voice is being heard by thousands through the video that has been widely shared online.

Sai Shri’s parents had been separated for eight years and she had been living with her mother. In the video, she pleads with her father, Shetty Shivakumar, to sell her home – which was in her name – to raise money for her treatment. Her mother had reportedly tried to sell the house but was stopped by her father, who allegedly got help from a politician to try and throw his estranged family out.

Sai was diagnosed with cancer in August, and doctors reportedly told her mother that a bone marrow transplant was the only option.

Speaking in Telugu in the excruciating video, she shows swellings and lesions on her arms and legs and shares that she is in great pain.

“Daddy, you say that you don’t have money. At least we have this house. Please sell this house and pay for my treatment daddy. Or else, they (doctors) say that I won’t survive for long,” she weeps.

“I haven’t gone to school in months. I want to play with my friends…I want to go to school…take my exam…I want to become a doctor…”

Based on a complaint by an activist, the Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission has asked the police to investigate whether Mr Shivakumar, who lives in the same city, was guilty of neglecting his daughter.

Activists allege that Mr Shivakumar refused to spend money for his daughter’s treatment even though he could afford it.

Sai’s mother Sumashri had reportedly spent Rs. 30 lakh but the treatment was not good enough for the type of cancer that she was suffering from.

[“source-ndtv”]

Everything You Need to Know About For Honor’s Season Two Gear Changes

Everything You Need to Know About For Honor's Season Two Gear Changes

With Season Two of For Honor’s Faction War beginning tomorrow, Ubisoft implemented four distinct changes to gear. The developers aimed to reduce the gap between high and low level gear, have more stat varieties, show the actual stat values each piece carries, and introduce the Epic rarity sets. In addition, the costs to craft gear has been significantly reduced, though the salvage values after dismantling gear has been slightly reduced as well.

All of these gear changes will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC alongside For Honor Update 1.07, tomorrow on May 16.

Base Gear Stats

When you have basic gear (gear score zero), you should still added bonuses:

  • Arms: defense + 0.8%
  • Body: + 0.9%
  • Head: + 0.6%
  • Weapon 1: + 0.8%
  • Weapon 2: + 1.0%
  • Weapon 3: + 1.2%

For example: Weapon 1, 2, and 3 would be the blade, crossguard, and hilt, respectively.

Developer comments: We observed difficulties for certain players to play with new heroes without gear with the new gear values. To help this, default gear now has stats. To note, this does not apply when gear stats are disabled.

Epic Gear

Once Update 1.07 arrives, you should be able to scavenge Epic gear post-match if you are at least Reputation level five.

for honor season two gear

Because of the new gear rarity, the scavenging rules have been tweaked:

  • Rare gear loot rules changed from Reputation level one up to the end of Reputation level six to Reputation level one to the end of Reputation level four.
  • Heroic gear loot rules changed from Reputation level three until Reputation level 30 to Reputation level three to the end of Reputation level six.
  • Epic gear loot rules added to Reputation level five until Reputation level 30.

Developer comments: To accommodate the addition of the new gear, we tweaked the way the gear is looted. To make sure the progression is comfortable, we reduced the amount of levels at which could be looted Rare and Heroic gear.

Overall Gear Stats Revamp

for honor season two gear

Gear Stats have been rearranged on all stats bundles and gear slots:

  • Weapon 1: Attack, Defense Penetration, Block Damage
  • Weapon 2: Attack, Execution Regen, Revive Speed
  • Weapon 3: Attack, Revenge Gain, Revenge Mode Attack
  • Helm: Defense, Exhaustion Duration, Debuff Resistance
  • Chest: Defense, Revenge Mode Defense, Revenge Mode Duration
  • Arms: Defense, Stamina Use, Stamina Regen

Developer comments: To support all our balancing changes, we removed, merged and moved stats to better focus on interesting and varied builds, with more meaningful choices.

New Gear Stat Values

  • Lower rarity gear now has higher modifiers than before.

Developer comments: Common gear wasn’t impacting the gameplay as much as we would have liked. With higher starting values, gear of all levels now feels more satisfying.

  • Modifiers increase faster per level at lower rarities than at higher ones.

Developer comments: Players advising each other on gear strategies always said the same thing: Save your steel for Heroic gear. This means that many players saw very little gear progression until they got their first hero up to Reputation 3. Something that takes a long time. So by making the curve steeper at the low end and flatter at the top, we hope that players will see it as valuable to buy and craft gear of all rarities.

  • Stat penalties have been increased significantly.

Developer comments: Players were hard pressed to even notice the effect of their penalties at anything but the highest gear levels. We hope that by increasing the size of the penalties and removing skills that are of limited use we’ll make all your future gear decisions that much more interesting.

  • New type of stats offering only small and balanced bonuses even at high levels.

Developer comments: We needed to offer a more moderate option for players regarding gear, for players that liked the initial balance of the hero and didn’t want to upset it with powerful bonuses and penalties.

UI Change to Represent Gear Stats

for honor season two gear

  • You can now see the exact numeric values of all stat bonuses.

Developer comments: While gauges are excellent at showing relative strengths and weaknesses of the gear, it was hard to decipher the impact they would have on the gameplay. To actually allow players to make meaningful choices and know the effect of their gear, we changed it to numbers.

  • Added a proportional indicator when comparing gear

Developer comments: To allow to choice gear at a glance and evaluate gear quality, we added arrows right of the gear stat values when comparing gear.

Attack Stats No Longer Affect Feats

  • The gear stat Attack now only affects normal attacks and not Feats or Bleeds.

Developer comments: Having gear affect feats and bleed was both hard to understand and very powerful at higher levels.

New Crafting Prices

Here are the new Salvage Material costs to improve gear:

  • Upgrade Cost in salvage material for Common gear
    • From: Level 1: 20 / Level 2: 30 / Level 3: 40 / Level 4: 50 / Level 5: 60
    • To: Level 1: 10 / Level 2: 13 / Level 3: 16 / Level 4: 19 / Level 5: 23
  • Upgrade Cost in salvage material for Rare gear
    • From: Level 1: 100 / Level 2: 150 / Level 3: 200 / Level 4: 250 / Level 5: 300
    • To: Level 1: 55 / Level 2: 80 / Level 3: 110 / Level 4: 130 / Level 5: 155
  • Upgrade Cost in salvage material for Heroic gear
    • From: Level 1: 260/ Level 2: 390 / Level 3: 530 / Level 4: 660 / Level 5: 790
    • To: Level 1: 195 / Level 2: 255 / Level 3: 295 / Level 4: 335 / Level 5: 375
  • Upgrade Cost in salvage material for Epic gear
    • Level 1: 400/ Level 2: 520 / Level 3: 650 / Level 4: 800 / Level 5: 960

Here are the new Steel costs to improve gear:

  • Upgrade Cost in steel for Common gear
    • From: Level 1: 30 / Level 2: 55 / Level 3: 75 / Level 4: 100 / Level 5: 125
    • To: Level 1: 25 / Level 2: 30 / Level 3: 35 / Level 4: 40 / Level 5: 45
  • Upgrade Cost in steel for Rare gear
    • From: Level 1: 150 / Level 2: 170/ Level 3: 195 / Level 4: 220 / Level 5: 245
    • To: Level 1: 75 / Level 2: 85 / Level 3: 95 / Level 4: 105 / Level 5: 115
  • Upgrade Cost in steel for Heroic gear
    • From: Level 1: 270/ Level 2: 290 / Level 3: 315 / Level 4: 340 / Level 5: 360
    • To: Level 1: 150 / Level 2: 170 / Level 3: 190 / Level 4: 210 / Level 5: 230
  • Upgrade Cost in steel for Epic gear
    • Level 1: 270/ Level 2: 290 / Level 3: 315 / Level 4: 340 / Level 5: 360

Here are the updated salvage values rewarded by dismantling gear:

  • Salvage Value for Common gear (unchanged)
    • From: Level 1: 5 / Level 2: 6 / Level 3: 7 / Level 4: 8 / Level 5: 9 / Level 6: 10
  • Salvage Value for Rare gear
    • From: Level 1:30 / Level 2: 35/ Level 3: 45 / Level 4: 50 / Level 5: 55 / Level 6: 65
    • To: Level 1: 20 / Level 2: 23 / Level 3: 26 / Level 4: 29 / Level 5: 32 / Level 6: 35
  • Salvage Value Heroic gear
    • From: Level 1: 95/ Level 2: 110 / Level 3: 125 / Level 4: 145 / Level 5: 165 / Level 6: 190
    • To: Level 1: 55 / Level 2: 60 / Level 3: 65 / Level 4: 70 / Level 5: 75 / Level 6: 80
  • Salvage Value for Epic gear
    • Level 1: 100/ Level 2: 115 / Level 3:130 / Level 4: 145 / Level 5: 160 / Level 6: 175

Developer comments: Our data showed players had a hard time to level up new heroes and would not craft early gear as much while having an excess of crafting material at higher levels. To improve this, we changed the cost of steel and crafting material as well as salvage value for gear. We hope to offer a smoother curve while keeping higher level gear a long term goal for high level players.

All of For Honor’s gear changes and class changes in Update 1.07 will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on May 16.

Get into our YouTube channel to find out which games are worth your money this month, including PREY and INJUSTICE 2.

[“Source-pvplive”]