Thursday, November 14, 2013
"AMOUR" - THE FILM
The title is an apt description, for the movie is the love story of a cultivated and sophisticated man and woman, both music teachers, who have been married for many years and now have grown old together. We briefly see their pleasant lives before, Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), the wife, suffers a stroke. Even in the scenes before the tragedy, we sense with foreboding that what follows will not be pleasant for either Anne or her husband Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant.
The writer and director, Michael Haneke, unflinchingly and without sentimentality, depicts the reality of life for the caregiver and the cared-for after disabling tragedy strikes. Haneke does not fear scenes of lingering silence, nor does he scorn blackouts, which go on longer than the viewer expects. Except for the scenes at the beginning, the movie is filmed entirely within the couple's apartment. The setting does not feel unreasonably constrained, for Anne and Georges live their lives within the constricted space, except for brief ventures out which are mentioned but not shown.
Riva and Trintignant are brilliant in their roles. Often without words, we read in their faces their intense love for each other, the severe tests of the strength of that love, and their shared humiliations. The actors, both in their 80s, have not lost the golden touch.
Their daughter, Eva, (Isabelle Huppert) cares about her parents, but she faces challenges in her own life and, though somewhat perplexed, she seems to understand and perhaps envy her parents' devotion to each other - that devotion which effectively excludes intimacy with anyone else, even their own daughter.
The movie is brilliant in its every aspect, but it hit at least this one viewer with a hard emotional punch that I would not want to repeat every day.