Friday, 12 October 2012

Amour

15, 2012, Directed by Michael Haneke
Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert

 
In cinema, there are directors who churn out film after film; directors who pay more thought towards cash in their pockets than how to make their current feature unique… But there are those directors who treat filmmaking like a jigsaw; a jigsaw with the most minute pieces, taking utmost care to deliver something standalone that merges traits used before, with additions, so that by the time said film is unveiled upon the world, an excessive amount of hype has been generated for a ready-made quintessential slice from that director's filmography. Whether you like him or not, Michael Haneke is one of these directors, and Amour is one of those films.

Garnering considerable hype largely due to the 2012 Festival circuit, not to mention its coveted Cannes Palme d'Or win, style is embraced warmer than ever here. Jean Trintingnant appears in his first appearance for 9 years as Georges to Emannuelle Riva’s Annes. The two are long-married retired music teachers whose lives are upheaved when Annes suffers a stroke. The central performances are, for want of a better word, spectacular. So much so, that Amour could be a documentary and Trintignant and Riva its subjects. The film commences with a flash-forward, and ensuing scenes which occur as the film works its way to the conclusion are incredibly emotive; tasked with picking a standout scene would be an impossibility.

 Like his films before It (Hidden, fellow Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon), Amour is equally as bleak, hard-hitting and compelling, but perhaps to a greater extent due to the feeling of inescapable inevitability that effuses from the Austrian auteur’s work. His latest, one of which many could - and will - make a statement as his best, isn't just a film but a snapshot of the brutality life can throw your way, without even leaving your front door. Haneke’s presence is felt in the canny way he fixes the camera in position and tracks his characters, permitting his actors to do everything that suffices. Haneke tackles tough subjects in a characteristically unflinching but honest manner, heightening the integrity of all involved. Georges and Annes could be somebody you know, or you in the future; everybody can relate. This is remarkable filmmaking of the most understated form, and for this, Amour warrants all the respect it will undoubtedly receive.


4.5/5

 

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