Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Amour (2012)


Georges: Things will go on, and then one day it will all be over. 

'Amour' tells us the story of Georges and Anne, who are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple's bond of love is severely tested.(

So, I'm gonna get right to it. 

Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher) comes to us once again with a film so subtle in its approach and treatment of the issues expressed. Besides my initial indigestion to even comprehend this film, I am inclined to admit its sublimity and its raw uniqueness. Heneke is hardly the man to tell beautiful stories, but he never lies to its viewer either. His narrative is strong, empathetic, filled with raw emotions and harsh truths. He lets the silence do most of the talking through his lense. He does not stall or play around the bush. He has something to say, he has a simple story to tell but he manages to tell it with so much raw passion, if ever that's possible, that you can't help but stay glued to the screen for the two hours of his film.

With this film, I had my reservations. Having witnessed Haneke in action in his previous films, I went into this film with half a heart, hoping that his reality this time would not be so upfront and harshly told. He did not dissapoint though either. His dialogue was scarce but to the point, the music minimal, his actors like life-like gargoyles, the story line was simple and yet so immensely powerful. 

It took me a while to be sucked into his rhythms, but eventually I did. Mostly by the engrossing performances of the two protagonists. I would like to stay on this for a while. The actors. I do praise quite often in films the actors, but with this one Haneke took things into a whole other level. The actors expressions' on any film is what makes all the difference. Here, Haneke let his actors react to each other and feed of each others' reality. Especially the role of the stricken wife. Emmanuelle Riva. Nothing but awe for this actress. Given the role of the woman who is befallen a major attack, nailing her to the bed and ultimately giving in, it was one of the hardest things to watch in a film in the past year. Her physicality and the mental state of the character she managed to portray was unbelievably horrifying, cruel enough to make you stay and watch her, raw enough to make you engage with her reality and touching enough to make you cry. Also it would be a big foul of me not to equally extol Riva's co-protagonist, Jean-Louis Tritignant, who showed a remarkable tenacity as a  thespian and was equally powerful in his portrayal of the husband, who's left behind to pick up the pieces.  

This is not a film easy to the eyes, and certainly not most people's cup of tea. I completely understand now though the 'why' the Academy chose to include this film for Best Picture and for Best Actress award. It is a very powerful and moving film. Real enough for those who dare to experience raw truth through the camera lense for a subject so fragile and above all, human

I will not say that I was immediately stricken with awe with this film, well not even by the time the end credits started rolling. However, it did leave a bittersweet feeling to my heart, it made me think about it, and come back to it with a fresher more intimate approach in my second screening. 

Outstanding piece of filmmaking, worth the while. Do not dismiss it right away and patience is a key with this one. 

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