Posted by Zak Hepburn
21. Feb, 2013
Michael Haneke doesn’t like sugar, and anyone who has ever witnessed his previous works, such as Funny Games, The White Ribbon or The Piano Teacher can attest to that.
The German-born, Austrian-raised Haneke, who turned 70 last year, has created a catalogue of works that deal with the follies of the human condition, in all of their dark and mystifying splendor. Whilst continuing his melancholic thematic trends, his latest work, Amour, injects an element of sincerity in a way that only Haneke could create. The film has been nominated for five Academy Awards and also took out the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes last May.
The measured story chronicles two retired music teachers, Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant); an affectionate and loving couple absorbed by their long relationship. When a pivotal moment in their lives strikes, it comes as a quiet dagger in the night: a subtle alarm that is ultimately life shattering, terrifying and expertly executed by Haneke.
For the majority of the film, it is up to Georges to nurse his ailing wife as she grows increasingly immobile and unwilling to carry on, and a brewing anger and despair combine to destroy them both. This premise may sound over bearing to some, and yes the film is tough to watch but is ultimately emotionally rewarding and uplifting.
The performances of Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant bring an unrequited humanity to their sensational appearances as the central couple.
Haneke’s vision of love and ageing is simultaneously haunting, astonishingly honest and heartfelt, and Amour will summon a swell of emotion in any viewer and leave a lasting imprint.
Amour is now in limited release.
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