Lorna's Silence

Sony Classics July 31, 2009


Cannes Film Fest 2008–“Le Silence de Lorna” (“Lorna's Silence”) by the supremely gifted Belgian brother-directors, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, world premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film festival, where it won the Jury’s Screenplay Award, and is now being released by Sony Classics.


While the movie is not as artistically solid and thematically powerful as the Dardennes' previous efforts, such as “Rosetta” or “The Child” “(L’Enfant”), it’s still a pretty solid film, with an excellent beginning, after which the narrative somehow weakens, veering off into a more conventional melodrama in the last reel.


As always, the Dardennes deal with characters that are outsiders and live at the periphery of society, reflecting the new socio-demographic-economic realities of the New Europe.

In order to become the owner of a snack bar with her boyfriend, Lorna, a young Albanian woman living in Belgium, becomes an accomplice to a plan devised by a ruthless mobster, Fabio. Fabio has orchestrated a sham marriage between her and Claudy (regular and reliable actor Jermie Renier). The marriage allows her to obtain Belgian citizenship and then marry a Russian Mafioso willing to pay a lot of money to acquire the same quickly. However, for this second marriage to be possible, Fabio has planned to kill Claudy. Will Lorna keep silent?

Reportedly, numerous actresses, both professional and non-professional, were auditioned before Arat Dobroshi, an attractive and gifted Albanian actress was chosen.

Stylistically, they helmers have decided that this time round, the camera would not be constantly moving.  Thus, using 35mm, the camera is less subjectively descriptive, or more detached in recording the story’s events.

The movie was shot in Lige, just a few miles away from Seraing, the industrial town where the siblings had spent their childhood and shot their previous movies.  Lige is a bigger city, with plenty of people in the streets during the daytime and evening.  For Lorna, who comes from Albania, a big European city embodies all sorts of hope, but we also get the notion that she is lost in the midst of the crowd, surrounded by people who are physically close to her but know nothing of her moral dilemma—and secret.

Blessed with a highly expressive face, Arta gives a terrific, dominant performance as a basically decent woman, whose life has been so harsh economically and socially that she has never given a full account to herself of what kind of life she wants to lead, and what sorts of values she abides by.


A Diaphana Distribution (in France)/Cineart (in Belgium) release of a Les Films du Fleuve, Arte France Cinema (France)/Archipel 35, RTBF (Belgium)/Lucky Red (Italy)/Arte/WDR (Germany) co-production, in association with Gemini Film, Mogador Film, with the support of Centre du Cinema et de l'Audiovisuel, de la Communaute Francais de Belgique et des Teledistributeurs Wallons, Eurimages, with the participation of Canal Plus, Cinecinema, La Region Wallonne, Centre National de la Cinematographie, Tax-Shelter du Gouvernement Federal Belge, Casa Kafka and Inver Invest, Tax-Shelter ING Invest de Tax Shelter Prods., Programme Media Plus de la Communaute Europeenne, Programme Media i2i Audiovisuel, La Loterie National de Belgique, SofiCinema 3. 
Produced by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd.
Executive producer, Olivier Bronckart.
Co-producer, Andrea Occhipinti.
Directed, written by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne.
Camera, Alain Marcoen; editor, Marie-Helene Dozo; production designer, Igor Gabriel; costume designer, Monic Parelle; sound, Thomas Gauder; sound editor, Julie Brenta; associate producers, Arlette Zylberberg, Sabine de Mardt, Christoph Thoke, Stefano Massenzi. 


Arta Dobroshi, Jeremie Renier, Fabrizio Rongione, Alban Ukaj, Morgan Marinne, Olivier Gourmet.

Running time: 95 Minutes