"Amour" | A rare gift in the end!

 16 Nov 2021 5:29 PM GMT  |  Mpost

A rare gift in the end!

An aged couple, living life in perfect harmony senses trouble when one of them falls sick. Yet initially, they appear to carry on unnerved. But the natural decay pushes them into the ugliest abyss of old age. So, the quality of life they lead is certainly compromised with worsening physical imperfections. The guilt-stricken sick partner then desperately wishes her trauma to come to an end at the earliest, whereas the other half, seeing her in misery and pain takes every responsibility on his shoulder to make her happy and comfortable.

Returning home after recuperating from a stroke, wheelchair-bound Anne, a retired music teacher, with her beseeching look makes her octogenarian husband, Georges promise that she will never be sent back to the hospital. Very soon, Anne loses her mobility and suffers from impairment of speech. Famous Austrian director, Michael Haneke has no time to show cliché, shallow sentiments in a love story. In his ‘Amour’, he showcases the harshest and unpleasant reality towards the end of life. In one way he makes the couple so angelic that Anne shows no sign of unreasonableness or quirkiness in her, neither Georges has any symptoms of unkindness or self-interest. On the other end, Haneke’s retentive realism wraps up the film with a chilling, heinous but affirmative killing. Haneke’s love grants such a tightfistedness to the model partners, that they even defy any objection, the world might make. Naturally, their daughter Eva, an established pianist sometimes looks like a mere spectator in front of her parents in crisis.

‘Amour’ clinches the Palm D’Or in the 65th Cannes Film Festival in 2012. Darius Khondji’s static shots frame this cultured cosmopolitan duo entirely from a middle distance, creating a very intensely private feeling within three rooms of the apartment. The most fulfilling part of the film is watching the pair acting on screen. Emmanuelle Riva’s Anne, like a truly sinking patient, responds irritatingly, reacts in despair, grimaces in unbearable pain but fully empathizes with her husband, unquestionably a historical performance of the decade. Jean-Louis Trintignant as Georges, a retired musician is also remarkably stoic, observant and indefatigable even at his age, a perfect combination of actors. His action reflects every authority an old, but caring husband acquired having shared a long, intellectual relationship with his wife. So perfectly annoying is Isabelle Huppert’s (Eva) momentary eruption, Georges decides once to keep Anne’s room locked, denying even her daughter’s entry. Opera singer William Shimell and real-life pianist Alexandre Tharaud play a good cameo in the film.

The disastrous end of the film with its cynical ambiguity throws the burden of interpretation entirely on the viewers - can the bond of love even empower one partner over the cessation of mortal existence of the other? But wherever Michael’s discourse leads us to his ‘Amour’ wires Rousseau’s notion that artistic culture does not entail moral virtues.

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