In my quest of finding the meaning behind “Cinema”, I came across this French film named Amour, meaning a “love affair” or a “lover”, written and directed by Michael Haneke and released in 2012. The blatant portrayal of LIFE in this movie has left me spellbound and thoughtful at the same time, reminding me of the fact that life is ephemeral.
In today’s world most of the commercial cinema produced is fast paced and driven by “Adrenaline rush theory”. It comprises of grand settings and many storylines supporting the core subject. .These films are a grand buffet , of which the audience can choose a dish of his\her liking. Amour on the other hand stays honest to its content and deals with human emotions and their interactions. Change is an inevitable part of life and “Amour” incorporates this change in its form and characters.
In a book written by Lagos N. Egri, titled “The Art Of Drama Writing”, I came across this dialectical approach to a movie that I found very interesting. According to this approach a film put forwards a proposition, called Thesis. Finds an appropriate contradiction to it, called Antithesis. And then it reaches a resolution which is a correction to the original proposition as a result of the contradiction, called Synthesis. Implicating this approach upon this film, we get :
- Life is Love (Thesis)
- Life is misery (Anti-thesis)
- Love defies misery (Synthesis)
The Set Up
This film is setup in Paris , where resides an octogenarian couple named Anne and Georges, retired music teachers, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Late Emmanuelle Riva respectively. They have a daughter who lives abroad. We begin by witnessing a fabulous first scene in which we see an audience is getting seated to watch a musical performance in an auditorium which forms a perfect mirror image of us. We hear the beautiful notes of the music being orchestrated on stage and hence forth we are introduced into the world of Anne and Georges. Within few moments into the film we realize that they have a strong bond between them and the relationship in such a long time, through thick and thin have matured beautifully. What stuck with me about their relationship was even at such a later stage of their shared life, Georges still had stories to tell Anne about his childhood , to which she responded keenly. With each gaze in to their world we see how complementary both of them are to each other.
Post a carotid surgery we see Anne on a wheel chair returning home. The operation had gone wrong and had left her right side paralyzed . Anne who up to this point of life was completely self dependent, is now bounded by her bad health in a wheel-chair. She wants to live her life with dignity and self esteem but present physical realities shatters her imagination. In a scene Anne even accepts this while talking to George and says “Imagination and Reality have less in Common.” Georges, instead of all his efforts to comply with new found schedule of life, watches his loved one struggle to live her desired life. We see him feeling alone and sometimes getting increasingly impatient. He fights a battle within as well as on the outside as he watches Anne decay physically day by day. In a heart wrenching scene we see Georges sitting beside Anne, caressing her, asking her opinion on hiring a second nurse to which she replies in agony, ”IT HURTS.” This film in its essence is a journey to a decision by a man, made in response to an urge by his beloved companion , when life seemed like a disgrace to her.
The duration of “Amour” is 127 minutes. The dramatic momentum and the pace with which this film unfolds is intriguing and takes us by surprise. Other aspects such as :
- Pre verbal language of this film communicates efficiently to us without much use of dialogues.
- Music in the film is well used and symbolizes the emotions being depicted .
- Color palette of this movie encapsulates the journey of George and Anne as it changes from warm and cozy to dark and cold personifying the situation in which we are in the film.
- Framing of the scenes directs audience’s attention to the necessary and creates a visual track.
After what has been said above ,it is needless to say that actors have done a great job in this film. Such performances persevere and leaves an indelible mark on your conscious. Jean-Louis Trintignant in an interview said that Emmanuelle Riva almost worked herself to death for this role. In a interview Emmanuelle Riva said that she has experienced a whole life through this film. Michael Haneke wanted to achieve unity of space, time and action with this film. And for me he has done so , with precision . It is must that I mention a scene that sums it up beautifully. Georges in one scene , telling a story pertaining to his life says to Anne “ I don’t remember the film, but I remember the feelings “. For me this line describes “Amour” aptly . One should definitely watch this masterpiece as it can redefine LOVE for you , which is not bounded by existence , but transcends it. “Amour” is highly recommended.
The film is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Analysis written by – Shibankar Roy
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