Liebe: Directed by Michael Haneke. With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud. Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple’s bond of love is severely tested.
“In u0026#39;Amouru0026#39;, we delve into the deepest, and most profound type of love seldom explored on screen, examined to itu0026#39;s uncompromising end. It is one of the most moving displays of love, in recent memory. That the couple at the heart of this film are 80-plus year old, bourgeois, retired French-speaking music teachers is surprising. That their story speaks to so many audiences worldwide regardless of their age and culture should not be, it simply reflects the universal emotions at the core of this film told with great honesty and sensitivity.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIronically, as the title suggests, this is (not) another love story. In his most classical and refined film yet, Austrian master Haneke has once again asks questions of the audience in his own subversive, clinical, uncomfortable methods, yet (in what many see as a departure) with profoundly moving results. Some of the signature Haneke u0026#39;shocksu0026#39; still remain, but this time they also carry devastating emotional weight.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eParadoxically the emotional force of the film comes from Hanekeu0026#39;s characteristic clinical style of filmmaking: static shots, framed in mid to long distance, no score, economical and direct screenplay, however assisted by an always crisp sound design, sharp lighting and cinematography courtesy of Darius Khondji (Midnight in Paris), and naturalistic and honest performances. This time however, the approach feels gentler and respectful without the standard disdain and nihilism one expects from Haneke.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eYet there remains a palpable sense of the unknown and danger as film progresses (ironically almost exclusively in their spacious and comfortable apartment) ratcheting up a claustrophobic sense of fear. The film also spends itu0026#39;s time almost solely on the two leads, the emotional weight they carry and the connection to the audience evidenced by genuine laughter, gasps and tears (laughter or sorrow I wonu0026#39;t disclose) was incredibly moving for two (real-life) octogenarians that few would admit, they have more in common than they would believe. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIu0026#39;ve not said much about the filmu0026#39;s story – an elderly French couple live in a Parisian apartment until an unexpected event causes them to reevaluate their life – it is simple in itu0026#39;s construction and execution, and the emotional peaks are best experienced by yourself with a friend or family member and a receptive audience. I watched this at the Sydney Film Festival in June, about a month after itu0026#39;s premiere in Cannes in May for which it deservedly won with enthusiastic reception. The theatre was comparatively (and undeservedly) under attended, yet the reception was attentively silent, collectively moved.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eFollowing the visceral and subversive Caché and the more refined and sprawling White Ribbon, it appeared that Haneke had reached a creative zenith. Almost inevitably however, and especially given with the subject matter, he has restrained his somewhat acerbic style and delivered a film that is superlatively honest and sincere in all itu0026#39;s creative aspects. He has given an honest appraisal of a tender human relationship that should move even the most dispassionate viewer by the often unflinching humanity displayed on screen. One of the greatest and profound achievements seen on screen in many years, this is film at itu0026#39;s purest and most powerful form.”