There is always a high expectation of a new Michael Haneke film. His recent success with films such as The White Ribbon and Hidden (Caché) have established his importance within contemporary European cinema. What I admire the most about Haneke is his ability to merge beauty and horror so seamlessly. His films, despite their occasionally overbearing messages, rely on the realism and imperfections of their characters. Yesterday I sat in the balcony of the Hyde Park Picture House and watched Amour, Haneke’s latest picture that focusses around the struggles of an ageing Parisian couple. After Anne suffers an attack, the couple must attempt to cope with the struggles and tests that face them. In regards to Amour, expectations were met. 

Haneke tackles these very sensitive issues with the utmost intelligence, bravery and honesty. He does not hold back but still treats the issues with humility. Nobody is glorified. All the characters are shown to be incredibly human, through the mistakes they make. Jean-Louis Trintignant is exceptional in his role as Georges, the loving husband who must care for and protect his wife in her physical and mental deterioration. His personal battles are as interesting to watch and explore as the more obvious challenges that he is facing.
Emmanuelle Riva gives a very courageous and haunting performance as Anne. The truly upsetting element of this film is the way that we see Anne cope with her situation. At no point did I feel emotionally swayed by Haneke. Although it was an emotional film to watch, it felt necessary to keep watching, perhaps out of respect for the characters.

Isabelle Huppert really contributed to the film’s overall mood. In the role of the distant daughter, Huppert  added a sense of despair and injustice. She gave an understated performance that really emphasised the situations that we were watching unfold. Haneke’s beautiful use of symbolism and occasional surrealism kept the audience on their toes and provided a crucial break from the constant static camera shots that provided a frame for Georges and Anne. Amour demonstrates the lengths that we will go to keep promises and honour the ones we love, despite the consequences. Amour tells a story of humanity at its most strained and most vulnerable.

Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.

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