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Amour [DVD] 
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Focusing on the lives of an elderly couple and the strain their relationship undergoes after one of them suffers a mild stroke, AMOUR is one of the most powerfully moving, emotionally devastating pieces of cinema ever made. From one of, if not the greatest director working today MICHAEL HANEKE. Winner of the 2012 Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
An elegant elderly couple faces the ultimate challenge in Austrian auteur Michael Haneke's carefully controlled, emotionally devastating Amour. Retired music professors Anne (Emmanuelle Riva, Hiroshima Mon Amour) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant, The Conformist) enjoy their last good day together when they attend the concert of a former student (pianist Alexandre Tharaud as himself). The next day, Anne freezes at the kitchen table for a few minutes, after which she goes on as if nothing happened. Georges encourages her to see a doctor, who recommends surgery, but the operation fails, and she suffers a second stroke that paralyses her right side. Georges copes the best he can with help from neighbours and home-care workers, but Anne rapidly loses the ability to function on her own, even to communicate, which upsets their daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert, Haneke's The Piano Teacher). Georges' stoic acceptance elicits praise from onlookers, but Haneke reveals the cracks in his façade: the nightmares, the paranoia (his encounters with a persistent pigeon), and a series of actions that blur the lines between madness and compassion; though there's no reason to suggest the two can't coexist. Riva and Trintignant, among the finest actors France has produced, couldn't be better, but this is a difficult film to enjoy in any conventional sense--the word appreciate might be more appropriate--since Anne's infirmity obscures the love that binds these people to each other and becomes a sort of invisible monster, making Amour one of the more chilling horror stories in recent memory. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Top Customer Reviews
The film is about an octogenarian French couple, wonderfully well acted (well, lived) by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. She suffers first one stroke, then another. He looks after her, because she has made him promise not to put her in a home. The task gets more and more difficult, and their life becomes turned in completely on itself. Almost all the film takes place in their apartment.
The faces of the two stars are unforgettable, and the way Riva deteriorates is shocking but very realistic. It is a very moving film, and highly recommended, but anyone who has experience of this kind of ordeal may find it difficult.
One morning over breakfast, Anne experiences a moment of open-eyed paralysis that changes her life entirely. Anne has an operation which fails, leading to a steady decline in mobility, wheelchair confinement, dementia and finally being bed-bound. Anne never liked hospitals and Georges had to promise Anne that he would never take her back, although Georges keeps his word this arrangement had its own problems as Georges has to cope with caring for Anne.
Haneke rejects the idea that death is a communal experience, Anne's journey towards death is an intensely solitary experience. Only Georges can understand her pain, their daughter (Isabelle Huppert) is marginalised through no fault of her own. Anne's degradation and embarrassment at not being able to look after herself is evidently real and hard to watch. Emmanuelle Riva is a revelation as Anne, revealing the physical indignity and vulnerability of Anne's unravelling state in such a frank and utterly brave performance.
Georges and Anne's relationship releases all sorts of emotions and questions, not least how we adapt and cope within a relationship which is constantly changing, regardless of age. You may not see them kiss, hug, hold hands or even say "I love you", theirs is a love borne of loyalty, kindness and devotion. Its heartbreaking to watch Georges who has spent so many wonderful years building a life together with his beloved Anne, facing up to the reality that she is slowly disappearing before him.
As harrowing as Anne's and Georges deterioration is, `Amour' is still fundamentally a touching story between two people who are utterly in love with each other till the very end.
Superb direction, cinematography and acting make this surely the best French film of the year.
Minimalist in presentation, the acting is captivating and the story compelling. No special effects or background music to wind up the emotion.... just stark and profound acting in what at times seems real time.
If you are to watch just one foreign language film this year, watch this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great piece of filming. Has a really strong 'French' feel to it. If you're a fan of French cinema you should love this. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Martyn Stanley
This is a lovely portrayal of an elderly couples final months together. They are quite wonderful. There is a great love and devotion between this couple which exudes in this... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Okokok
Clearly, this film's received a massive sympathy vote because it's about old people, 'cause believe me, it is not "amongst the greatest films ever made", nor "a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Arthur Lee
One of the best and thought provoking masterpieces of modern times.Published 5 months ago by Mr. P. Jones