Saturday, February 9, 2013

Being private in public - Film: Amour (2012)

It really is as good as everyone says it is.  Amour directed by Michael Haneke with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, and Isabelle Hupert depicts an elderly couple as the circle that encompasses their active lives shrinks to a point when one of them becomes ill.  The camera takes it's time, watching them as they eat their dinner, read, listen to music, wash the dishes.  The action is what takes place inside them.  These are actors who know that their job isn't posting billboards with their thoughts and feelings written all over them. Their job is to fill themselves.  Then they can do something or they can do nothing, any behavior will reveal them.  If only that were simple.  Among the many remarkable qualities of this film is the sense that these characters seem so private.  It is not just that they become isolated in their lives, they do, but when the camera is close up on the face of Jean-Louis Trintignant as he walks down the hallway of his apartment, I had the feeling he really was completely alone.  No camera.  He was in some private space in his head, subsumed by the events of his life, and the camera was an invisible witness.


Sheila O'Malley said...

So good. It took me a day or so to shake off the effect of seeing it. Love to hear your thoughts.

Criticlasm said...

I keep hoping she wins the Oscar. It's very challenging to just be on screen, which is what both of them did. I also find it extraordinary that Haneke, in his 70s, made this. It's unsparing. It's beautiful, heart-wrenching, but in no way sentimental. Amazing film.