Amour Blu-ray Review
Amour. Love. That feeling we develop for another person that, hopefully, will never, ever go away. It is easy to be in and celebrate love in the good times. It’s when the bad times come that the feeling is challenged. That is the story of AMOUR.
Georges (Trintigant) and Anne (Riva) are an elderly couple enjoying the rewards of retirement. Lovers of music (they both are former music teachers) and the proud parents of a daughter (Huppert) that has followed in their footsteps, they spend a quiet evening out on the town, taking in the latest performance at the symphony. The next morning, over breakfast, Georges is alarmed when, during a conversation, Anne is unresponsive. After a few scary moments she seems to be fine. But a visit to the doctor reveals that Anne has suffered a small stroke. As her condition worsens she pleads with Georges to care for her at home. He agrees, but it is a promise that will test his faith and patience a hundredfold.
It’s rare that a film shot basically on one set with a limited cast can be so mesmerizing. This credit is shared equally by writer/director Haneke and his stellar cast. Riva, who at age 85 became the oldest person ever nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, is brilliant, especially in later scenes where she only has her face and emotions to convey her actions. Equally outstanding is Trintignant. It was a decidedly tough field on the actor side of the Oscars last. That being said I don’t know who I would have swapped Trintignant out with. Maybe they need to allow more acting nominees as well as films.
Director Haneke, one of the rare directors to have won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival twice, has created a brilliant look at love in its golden years. His characters are believable and not once does he ever toy with the believability of the situation. There isn’t a false word in the script. As Georges deals with Anne his struggles are mighty. Yet he does not shirk them. When a neighbor compliments him on his care of Anne he shrugs it off. Surely every husband would do the same for his wife. When he suspects a nurse of not treating Anne properly he immediately dismisses her, not having any of her excuses. His direction is straightforward and his camera unintrusive. The actors control the action, the camera following their natural movements. Honestly, there isn’t a false note in the film. He allows his cast to project true emotion, which, or course, in my mind is truly the definition of love.
Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, AMOUR took home the Oscar as the year’s Best Foreign Film. And it is a well deserved honor. Besides Riva’s nod it also earned Haneke two nominations as Best Director as well as for his Best Original Screenplay. If you missed AMOUR in the theatre last year I urge you to give it a look now. You will not be disappointed.
AMOUR BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the film has been well transferred. Though the majority of the film takes place in Georges and Anne’s apartment the picture is bright and sharp.
Audio: The film is presented in DTS Master Audio 5.0 and is in its original French with English subtitles. The major sounds in the film are the dialogue and the outstanding original score on Piano. They complement each other well.
Making of “Amour” (25:19): An excellent featurette encompassing the making of the film from early pre-production discussions to the actual shoot. Also included are interviews with the cast and writer/director Haneke. The audio is in both French and German with English subtitles.
Q & A with Director Michael Haneke (39:27): the writer/director talks about his films and the personal aspects of his life he has incorporated into them. He also talks about writing the character of Georges with Jean-Louis Trintigant in mind and his joy at being able to cast him. The questions here are in English while Haneke’s answers, in German, are translated into English. Not subtitled.