Friday, 23 November 2012
Films that have ventured beyond the “happily ever after” finale over the years, have mostly focused on familial disharmony or breakdown of marriage. Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke dared to pursue a divergent route by painting a harrowing picture of a happily married couple approaching the inevitability of death, in the gut-wrenching and emotionally devastating masterpiece Amour; in terms of masterworks, this, along with the complex allegorical drama The White Ribbon, has made it a sweet one-two for him. Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) are a cultured and well-to-do Parisian couple, fellow Western Classical aficionados and connoisseurs, and well into the final legs of their lives. However, their blissful existences come to a screeching halt when Anne has a stroke leaving her partially invalid and in complete care of her husband. As both her health and sanity continue to disintegrate dramatically, the soft-spoken Georges, out of the increasing frustration and helplessness borne out of his profound love for her, is subtly pushed towards such a shocking act that it is bound to leave the emotionally drained audience reeling with horror and heartbreak. Hanake, himself in his 70s, painted a bleak and unflinching picture of mortality and old age – made starker by the near lack of any background score, and through the sense of claustrophobia and inescapability developed by setting nearly the entire movie within an upscale apartment. The two legendary thespians, viz. Trintignant and Riva, gave incredibly naturalistic, restrained and deeply affecting performances, showing that age has hardly reduced their sheen, while Isabelle Huppert was also excellent in her brief role as their successful, grief-stricken daughter.
p.s. Watched this as part of 2012 Kolkata International Film Festival (KFF)
Director: Michael Haneke
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Marriage Drama