Amour is Michael Haneke's new film, winner of Palme d'Or during Cannes. An elderly bourgeoisie couple suffer a crisis as the female suddenly has a stroke. This unsentimental drama about love and death follow Haneke's usual method of filming. Still camera, calculating and carefully constructed with long shots. The ending is already displayed in the start so that the viewer can focus on the... deconstruction of a human being. Many films exists portraying the process of growing old, but very few come close to Amour in terms of displaying every little detail; the changing of diapers, the inability to articulate - yet still containing the warmth of a couple going beyond the definition of love.
Haneke said in an interview recently that his fear of death is what drives him to create movies, constantly exploring the subject as a form of self-therapy. Amour makes this evident, with a description so honest that it is painful. The acting also deserves a mention as it is essentially flawless. Worthy of Palme d'Or or not is difficult to say, but if you can only see a few movies this year, this one is definitely in the list.
Augustine. France. A girl troubled by seizures and numbness of her body is sent to an asylum to be treated by a doctor, known as Charcot in historical terms. Questionable directing by Alice Winocour as too much was left unanswered or simply overshadowed by some silly love story.
Boa sorte, meu amor (Good Luck, Sweetheart), a french movie in black and white. A love drama where a man goes on a journey to his hometown in order to find his disappeared love. A bit messily structured piece of work, this drama, with lots of self-reflecting dialogues, interesting in a way but the sense of direction is unclear.
Quelques heures de printemps (A Few Hours of Spring) . Another french movie where an elderly woman is awaiting her death as her son is released from prison to hesitantly come to live with her. Some striking similarities to Amour, although this is a more sentimental piece of work. Both mother and son are stubborn and cannot display their affection properly as their old neighbor tries to act the messenger and the the dog to be the method of reconciliation... Stéphane Brizé follows up with another strong film after Mademosielle Chambon. Taking on euthanasia as a central subject here, this devastating tale of a shattering family deliver some thoughts on the unconditional love.
Da-reun na-ra-e-suh (In Another Country) is a South Korean film by director Sang-soo Hong. A french director (Isabelle Huppert) comes to a village to meet with her lover. Or something similar... as the events are repeated with different backgrounds. A bit comical dialogues in English as the Korean proficiency is not exactly stellar. This film is a perfect example of that actors (or in this case, actresses) cannot make a movie. No motive or insight into the characters, as the focus is on meaningless comical formalities and stereotypes within the dialogue. All that can be interpreted from this movie is that Korean men likes to drink Soju and chases the skirts of foreign women... As a reviewer wrote, being a Huppert fan is painful as she takes just about any role.
Francine is a 78 minutes short american movie about a middle aged woman keeping packs of dogs and cats in her home. We follow her as she is released from prison and try to find different jobs. Filled with melancholic nature shots pulled off with a mostly shaky camera. Francine is a film about being an outcast in society, the inability to successfully communicate with other people. Obsessed with animals, the other villagers regard her with dismay. A bit tragic but the scenes do not elaborate or explore the psyche which unfortunately makes it a flat, numb experience.
Ahí va el diablo (Here Comes the Devil). Brazil, horror. Two children become possessed as they play around in a cave. Hitchcock-esque buildup as we follow the parents realization of the change in the children. Unintentionally (?) humorous with quick zoom-ins and low budget special effects. Lots of nudity, not as much gore. Average horror flick which clearly pays its homage to the genre, yet too short and amateurish to leave any real impact.