Sunday, 3 March 2013

Amour



I’ve watched seven recent films since my last review, so many short reviews are pending.

I caught Amour on the day of the Academy Awards, which I am so glad I missed (Seth MacFarlane’s film, Ted, was the worst film I saw in 2012, so it didn’t surprise me that he was capable of “We Saw Your Boobs”, which I thought was in very bad taste, as were, no doubt, other so-called attempts at humour). 

That Amour won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film was not a surprise. I had heard enough to assume it would also most likely have made my top ten of 2012 if I had seen it earlier. But although Micahel Haneke’s Amour is a brilliant film, well-deserving of its Oscar, it would not have made my top ten.

Amour features outstanding and haunting performances by Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant as Anne and Georges, an old loving couple facing the sudden decline of Anne’s health (including her mental health). It is a quiet, simple slow-moving film (not unusual for Europe) that feels both real and scary. We know how it’s going to end (because the film begins at the end), but that only heightens the suspense (not a thriller-like suspense but a love-suspense, hence the title). 

Amour is not an easy film to watch, perhaps because it is a little too brutally honest. But I wasn’t expecting a fun time, so I don’t think this put me off. And in spite of my high expectations, I never for a moment doubted that I was watching a masterpiece of a sort. In every sense, there is no doubt that Amour is a work of art. And yet, there was something about the film which troubled me. I’m not sure I can describe what it was, except to say that I would have expected a film about love to engage me at an emotional level much more than this one did.

I am going to give Amour **** because it is such a well-made film and so plainly deserves it. But it is one of those four-star films that didn’t touch me in a way that will make it a favourite. Still, I recommend it highly to European-film lovers. My mug is up.

2 comments:

  1. I'm going to see it in 2 days - comments soon.

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  2. My feelings about this are very similar. Very well made. The meticulous, slow detail make it painful to watch but are clearly crucial to the film. And I've given a lot of thought to the emotional distance because I felt that too. I wonder, in fact, if that is part of what the film is meant to explore. His faithfulness to her is strong and there are corresponding elements of taste, dignity and "seriousness." But there is almost no expressed emotion, laughter, connection, fellowship or interaction with the natural world (except the pigeon). I think their inability to deal with or talk about emotion is a key point in the film that is easily lost because, for one thing, it's easier to blame the daughter than the ones going through the ordeal. At least the daughter could cry.

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