Tuesday, May 22, 2012

CANNES 2012 REACTION: Michael Haneke's "Amour"

I think we may actually have the film of the festival upon us with "Amour", the latest from challenging director Michael Haneke. Yes, I still have only seen his "Cache", but it only takes a single film of his to come to grips with an absolutely dynamic vision at the head of things. Never too intent on giving precious information away, Haneke has been known to leave us dangling in near endless despair, and a film titled "Amour" seems like no difference. The general response out of Cannes has been not just positive, but universally accepted as no Haneke film has been before.
David Jenkins (Little White Lies): "Haneke is interested in presenting the stages of decay, and bar one strange moment of sudden catatonia, we’re never forced to endure the pain of seeing Anna actually experiencing her strokes. George looks on, saddling the increasing demands of his wife’s malady while making sure that no-one – including the audience – see any physical manifestation of what must be overwhelming internal sadness."
Mike D'Angelo (A.V. Club): "Ladies and gentlemen, your Palme d’Or frontrunner has arrived. In fact, had Michael Haneke not won a mere three years ago for The White Ribbon (one of his weakest films, in my opinion), I’d be prepared to tell the remaining Competition hopefuls to pack up their gear and head home, sight unseen. Such is the nearly undeniable power of Amour, in which Haneke trains his merciless rigor—leavened, for perhaps the first time ever, with deeply felt tenderness and compassion—on the most universally heartbreaking aspect of the human condition: old age and its myriad indignities."
Robbie Collin (The Telegraph): "Both Trintignant and Riva are shatteringly good, although the full emotional impact of their performances only hits home once we have had time to reflect: Haneke assidulously avoids obvious emotional cues throughout. (The mawkishness of death is amusingly dismissed in a terrific scene in which Georges recounts the details of a cringingly maudlin funeral.) Clear-eyed, cool-headed and profoundly humane, Love is the consummate anti-weepie."

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