HANEKE’S AMOUR IS NOT THE LOVE OF MOST MOVIES
Wouldn’t you know, the current favorite to win the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival this year is arguably the most depressing film that has thus far been screened. And the least Hollywood-like. Amour, Michael Haneke’s film about a woman dying from a series of strokes and the husband who lovingly cares for her, is brilliantly acted and directed — and unbearably painful to watch. It is hard to imagine a harsher death than the one imposed on the principal character, portrayed by Emmanuelle Riva, in Michael Haneke’s drama or a greater burden than that undertaken by her husband and caretaker, portrayed by Jean-Louis Trintignant. The film has received virtually unanimous praise from critics attending the festival. Peter Bradshaw in Britain’s Guardian newspaper described it as “a moving, terrifying and uncompromising drama of extraordinary intimacy and intelligence.” Deborah Young in the Hollywood Reporter called it “magnificent in its simplicity and its relentless honesty about old age, illness and dying.” At a news conference, however, Haneke denied that he was making a commentary on any of that. He was, he said, merely attempting to make a simple film about a long, loving relationship and its inevitable end.