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Michael Haneke


Words By Jack Jones

Before making Amour, had you cut open Michael Haneke’s chest you wouldn’t have been surprised to find a block of ice where his heart should have been. But in his latest film, Haneke has made his most moving and human film to date. Usually his films are an exercise in precision filmmaking and devastatingly cold emotions. And while Amour has these exact qualities, there is also a warmth

and charm that has not always been forthcoming. Like Funny Games and Hidden, Amour serves up a healthy punch to the gut when it comes to its subject matter. An aging and loving couple, Georges and Anne, spend their retirement enjoying classical music and relaxing in their quaint Parisian apartment. That is until Anne falls ill with an unspecified illness and Georges is forced to accept that his life love will only continue to deteriorate as time passes. Haneke subtly presents Anne’s illness with very little

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that very few filmmakers p

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foreboding atmosphere and allows for the audience to share in Georges’ shock. There is also very little mention of what exactly Anne suffers from. Whether it is a stroke, dementia, alzheimer’s disease or locked-in syndrome is of little consequence as the film is about love and how far your love for another person can be tested. As Georges, Jean-Louis Trinitgnant masters both the

frustrations and overwhelming compassion of his character. Caught constantly between the realisation of his wife’s deteriorating health and his inability to let her go, Georges is a mirror to the audience and a universal questioning of ones self: Would I honestly do the same for my one love? One can only hope and wonder. Haneke never flinches from showing to toughest moments of

caring for a frail and dying person. But without Emmanuelle Riva’s extraordinary and captivating performance the sheer overwhelming emotions of the story may not have been nearly as powerful. With a still shining beauty, to carefully tread each moment of Anne’s, at times, brutally fading light is almost unbearably tragic. Here Haneke is working with

a skill and care that very few filmmakers possess. The use of a single location is an elegant, but apparent symbol of the Georges and Anne’s imprisonment. Don’t presume, however, that in his precision that Haneke has created a mechanically cold and rigid picture. Amour is a deeply affecting love story of the like rarely seen anywhere, in any medium.

AMOUR (Dir. Michael Haneke) - Review