Saturday, November 8, 2014
Written & Directed By: Michael Haneke
Cinematography By: Darius Khondji
Editor: Nadine Muse & Monika Willi
Cast: Emanuelle Rivas, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud, William Shimell
Georges and Anne are a couple of retired music teachers enjoying life in their eighties. However, Anne suddenly has a stroke at breakfast and their lives are never the same. That incident begins Anne's harrowingly steep physical and mental decline as Georges attempts to care for her at home as she wishes. Even as the fruits of their lives and career remain bright, the couple's hopes for some dignity prove a dispiriting struggle even as their daughter enters the conflict. In the end, George, with his love fighting against his own weariness and diminished future on top of Anne's, is driven to make some critical decisions for them both.
Michael Haneke for as cruel as his films might come off. His films always seem to mange to focus on humanity, usually it's breakdown or it's maintenance. in itself. This is probably his most human and melodrama film. To me it's another masterpiece in his body of work. I am a fan of and am happy he isn't my little secret anymore. Though I want his films and subject matter of them are very polarizing. I am a great admirer of his cinema.
Haneke is a Major filmmaker that in unfortunately discovered late I the game, but with each new that i witness made by him leaves me awestruck and had my admiration for him grow.
Here we begin at the end. So that when he end does come it packs less of a punch and leaves us to continue and figure it out. It ends simply and composed after Riling up to a certain degree. By beginning it's the ending it also allows us to fill in the blanks and see how we got there like a mystery procedural only not as focused on plot. The shots in This film are well compose., the emotions are muted. Though so thick you could cut it with a knife and still have more where that came from. Through it all the actors have a certain dignity even when constantly are subject to embarrassment that happen naturally as she breaks down mentally and physically and he chooses to take care of her.
The film was previously titled "These Two" and then "The Music Stops" before one day at lunch, the film's start Jean-Louis Trintignant suggested to director Michael Haneke that since the subject of the film was love, why not call it Amour (French for Love). Michael Haneke thought that the title made sense and worked beautifully so the film was then named Amour.
It's a sad story. A true love story of devotion.
I only wish I had seen this film in the theater. Though I imagine it would be hard to take your eyes off the screen. Other than to hide them from the horror. It would be of interest to see how a audience reacts to his kind of more extreme film. Extreme with emotions than anything physical .
The film isn't afraid of the quiet moments. The silences that are throughout are filled with tension. Those quiet moments leave us to ponder, but also allow is to take in what we are seeing before us. The reality of the situation and while hoping for the best how useless it is. As we move forward it is clear this is final and we don't know what will be the finale.
One constant bit of direction that director Michael Haneke gave to the cast was to avoid sentimentality at all costs. Not a word of the script was changed during production. The film was shot exactly as it was written, word for word.
Just like Emanuelle Riva's character we don't see the memories, but throughout are told them by her husband and see the obvious feelings and history they have with way other by their nature and way with one another. The familiar slipping away. While he tries to hold on to their common bond and language.
Emmanuelle Rivas was extremely uncomfortable about her nude scene in the film but finally agreed to do it because she thought it was extremely important for the story and that she would it as Anne, the character she was playing and not herself. The film is 127 minutes long and contains only 236 total cuts (including the title card). The average shot length is just over 32 seconds.
For all the accolades of the film-making. Special mention has to be given to the actors. As aching this film set mostly in an apartment feels claustrophobic like a theater piece . The cast makes it feel like so much more and so vivid as they pierce your own emotions while watching it. They are what make you stay and watch out of respect as the horror of each new scene seems to present.
As she gets worse it's unbearable for us as we are given a portrait I what she was like naturally and continue to watch as she deteriorates.
Michael Haneke is a humanist, His films are horror films in of themselves though not usually through a slasher or the supernatural. No he shows the horrors of human life and what so called normal people are capable of here we more watch as bodies breakdown betraying their owners and also this is more of an emotional horror story, that proves to be a massacre for the audience and participants alike.
The heartbreaking ending that you expect, but hope won't happen.