Labels: Film Festivals, London 2012, Patrick Gamble
BFI London Film Festival 2012: 'Living' review
However, whilst their paths never cross, the lives of these individuals are all connected by the harsh reality of mortality - with each experiencing the trauma of death, yet dealing with its haunting implications in remarkably differing ways. Sigarev focuses on mortality without any contrived sentimentality, instead illuminating the subject with brutal honesty. Stark, powerfully imagery aligns with a brooding score to present his washed-out portraits of these traumatised souls.
Each of the film's tales of loss are held together by the fascinating ways that respective parties each struggle to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. From ghostly apparitions, denial or medically-induced hallucinations, every individual suffers the same injustice, yet continue to search for hope in vastly different ways. Sigarev balances each perspective perfectly, flitting between narrative strands whilst maintaining the audience's attention throughout.
A fascinating insight into changing attitudes towards death, Living presents a society stuck in the crossroads between the decline of religious beliefs and the rise of spirituality. A metaphysical meditation on life, told through the morbid vantage point of three distressing tales, Sigarev's latest is a powerful example of thought-provoking new Russian cinema that lingers with you like the reverberations of a lost one.
The 56th BFI London Film Festival runs from 10-21 October. For more of our LFF coverage, simply follow this link.