Movie Review – Amour

Posted: May 26, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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The film opens with fire fighters breaking a door. Thanks to subtitles which didn’t match with the movie I had to see that scene again and again. With the very opening scene he gives us a glimpse of what to follow. The melancholy which we are going to endure. The fire personnel’s are none but us who break the door of a seemingly desolate couple living their erstwhile life at some far off place. As soon as we (the fire personnel’s) break into the life of someone else we could see an old dead woman lying in the bed. That’s when the title flashes on screen, Amour meaning love in French.

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Only when the movie starts we get to see the flashback. Again a brilliant scene. A piano performance happens and the ones we see are the people and their reactions. We don’t even know who is there on stage. In these two scenes Haneke has done the exact opposite of what usually happens in cinema. Whenever a door is broken by fire personnel or when a performance happens all we are interested are the people who are centre of attraction. Our curiosity rests with the subject. But there are a lot many people who come to observer the performance. We don’t think of them. Once such couple who are neglected by our crooked thoughts are Anne and Georges.

Anne, a charming old lady played by Emmanuelle Riva and Georges played by Jean-Louis Trintignant come home after watching a piano performance done by Annes’ former pupils. The scene in car might remind you of the scene where Schmidt goes for his retirement party in About Schmidt. Their chemistry is evident in the very first scene the converse where Georges asks Anne whether she’d like to have a drink and Anne refuses it. Men for one don’t understand that they have started aging, even though they are physically strong they don’t accept the processes of aging like women do, thus being more romantic than a woman at any point of time. Women on the other hand are always matured than men thus analyzing anything before consideration.

And as we get to look into their life melancholy strikes them. We don’t know how happy they were before we got to see them. But as soon as they are known to us their happiness is short lived because of the stroke that Anne receives which makes her get paralyzed on one side. Any home with sick people in it spoils the charm of the house. It thus happens here too. Georges initially takes care of her wife with care. It’s the initial compassion which draws him towards him. When his wife once tries to get things done on her own and eventually falling from bed Georges asks her what she has done she answers that she doesn’t want to be of bother to him for which Georges asks her back, “What if it had been me instead of you?” That’s the prime reason he helps her wife out. He takes into the account of his age and things that could have happened to him.

Meanwhile their daughter and their student who performed in the initial scene come to their house and say condolences. The skepticism of Georges and the shallowness of Emma masked by her superiority complex are so well shown. She doesn’t like to be talked about her paralysis. She says to her old student, “it comes with old age, do you have anything better to talk.” And to her daughter who is a notch closer to her she doesn’t like to meet her. The poor guy who gets stuck in the middle is Georges. He is said by his daughter as a hypocrite. She questions his methods of taking care of her. On the other hand, third persons who rarely see him appreciate the way he has taken care of his wife. We know Georges better than his daughter as well as his neighbor who helps him out with house hold goods. I honestly felt that he took very good care of his wife.

But as soon as Anne receives second stroke things go awry. Georges knows that it’s beyond him to help Anne now. He appoints two nurses to take care of him. On the surface when we watch we see both the nurses performing their job efficiently but Georges fires the second nurse he has appointed saying that she hasn’t taken good care of Anne. Now thinking back we could find out that she was a bit harsh. She had soothing words to say but she didn’t really serve the purpose. On the other hand to his dismay his daughter too criticizes him more and more.

The first shocking scene happens when he tries to feed Anne and when she refuses to eat he gives a nice tight slap. His first glimpse of losing his cool. As he couldn’t see his wife suffer more and more he goes for a killer blow at a least expected moment. He starts narrating a story and suddenly kills his wife with a pillow by suffocating her. We are surprised by his sudden move alright but he himself wouldn’t have had the plans about his exact moment of killing. As he had to see her continuously while narrating a story he could have felt that she doesn’t respond to any of his antics and gone on to kill.  I’m sure about him not making any plans because he by then is so tired of escaping. He just wants his wife to depart because he doesn’t want her to suffer.

The best scene of the movie happens after Georges kills his wife. A pigeon which enters their house every now and then is freed by Georges every time but this time when it enters his house he kills it and gets a peculiar satisfaction. This shows that he has gone on with his killer’s instinct. He doesn’t want anything to trouble in his life. What happens to him after this is a mystery but I’d be very happy to see how he reacts to the acquisition he must be facing. Because he neither has energy not the will to keep escaping. He doesn’t even cry seeing his wife dead. That’s what he has become. It’d be interesting to see how his life goes forward.

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