…vulnerability

AMOUR (2012) Dir. Michael Haneke

HANEKE_2012_Amour

When people share love, they also share other aspects of life: pain, old age, death. Is it really “in sickness and in health?”

Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) have been together for decades. On the surface, they have everything: family, money, reputation, social status, respect. The only thing they lack is health and longevity. There comes a point when there’s nothing more money can buy or love can provide, a point of no return. When Anne suffers from a stroke and her health deteriorates, she changes so drastically it shocks both of them. It is demeaning and takes away her dignity, but Georges doesn’t let her go. He still remembers his wife in her prime. They have time to tell each other how much they love each other. There is even time for a little walk down the memory lane with childhood stories.

It seems they welcome death. Yet, none of them want it. They come round to the idea of untimely death. And they stay together till the very end. How then is love defined in the face of being separated forever? Anne and Georges’ story seem to resonate with us clearly. We can refer to their feeling and devotion. They cling to life with enormous ferocity. Love is their driving force.

I am greatly impressed and touched by “Amour.” It combines elements of drama, but avoiding sappy melodrama, psychological horror, but subtle and balanced, and somnambulism, but without unnecessary confusion. “Amour” is intricate and subtle in addressing the issue of love in the face of sickness and death.

Long days, pleasant nights,

Veronica Bazydlo

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