AH, so, yesterday I decided to watch a French movie (must keep in touch with la langue), and what better option was there than the Oscar-nominated, Michael Haneke-directed AMOUR?
*The last scene of this trailer is equally chilling/incroyable in the movie
Brief plot introduction: Anne and Georges Laurent are an old married couple, and both retired music teachers. They live their quiet lives in peace, attending the occasional music concert, until ONE EVENTFUL DAY they are having a regular conversation and all of a sudden Anne completely zones out - she later ends up doing a surgery but it goes dreadfully wrong and she is rendered completely paralyzed on her right side. The rest of the movie revolves around Georges's efforts to take care of Anne, embellished by the occasional visits from their daughter, and one of Anne's previous pupils (Alexandre Tharaud playing himself!!).
This movie is called Amour (LOVE). Several different types of love are portrayed in this movie - husband-wife love, parent-child love, teacher-pupil love, not-quite-fulfilled young love, and merciful-killing love (euthanasia). Example of euthanasia in literature: George killing Lennie in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (speaking of Steinbeck, yes, I am nearly done with East of Eden and my mind was blown upon realizing that some of the characters were named after Steinbeck's parents).
Back to euthanasia - How does Anne die? Georges suffocates her. He dies soon after.
The first major question that popped into my head after I finished this movie - and one reiterated many times in the movie - was, "qu'est-ce qui s'est passé?" Because, what did happen?
This film was incredibly slow, SILENT (albeit minor piano snippets), yet exquisitely filmed. And although I have stated simply that Georges "dies soon after," it was not so plainly expressed in the film. After suffocating Anne, he walks around the house very silently for about 5 minutes and then walks back into the kitchen and ANNE IS THERE just calmly washing the dishes and then she leads him out of the house and apparently that represents Georges's death (Anne returning as an angel to lead him into darkness).
Honestly though, this film was so, so silent at times it was unbearable. I mean, there would be 5-second still shots of different paintings (WHY?!), without so much as a tinkle of sound. En revanche, sometimes Anne would be screeching 'MAL!!'
I suppose the slowness of the film contributes to the whole old-age vibe. There was one scene where Georges was halfway through brushing his teeth when suddenly the doorbell rang, and in all the movies I've ever watched where one is interrupted while brushing his teeth, one pauses - which is what Georges did - and then the camera CUTS to one's opening of the door - but nooooooo the camera followed Georges' continuation of spitting out the toothpaste, wiping his mouth on the towel, and THEN his procession to get the door... this film is so delicately and carefully filmed. If it were a parcel, 'handle with care' would be stamped across it in large bold letters.
Haneke definitely knew what he was doing though, because look at all the Oscars this film is nominated for! Not saying Oscar nominations = awesome movie, but... actually, no, that is what I am saying. Plus Roger Ebert liked it, donc...
Had to cross that out for fear of being slammed for being stereotypical. But really, if you are up for the challenge of dedicating 2 hours to watching this poignant film, GO DO IT! You will get points for sophistication. Besides, anything sounds elegant in French, so consider it a treat for thine ears.