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Archive for February 6th, 2013

amour-1

© 2013 by James Clark

A film calling itself “Love,” (Amour) can disarm, simply by that trope, any comprehensive notice of shortfall in its protagonists. If the latter are a cute old couple in distress, played by much revered actors, any critical edge tends to melt away completely. A foreground that seems to convey incontestable soundness, while actually concealing the film’s truth, is a compositional standby of the films of Robert Bresson, whose work our auteur, Michael Haneke, cherishes. So it is, when the husband, Georges, listening in their salon to his invalid wife, Anne, exuding long-suffering irony in reading from the unlearned domain of her horoscope for that day—“Shake off the rust…Get your mojo back…”—curls his lecture-fluent lip and complicitly pronounces, “Nonsense!” we must constrain confirming upon his liberal-humanist contempt for mojo that conquest over emotive carnality he and his ilk have celebrated again and again.

Anyone who has with his wits about him come to grips with Bresson will know that figures resorting to canny cleverness and ascetic pursuits tend to become the makings of road kill once his cameras and scenarios begin to roll. Haneke is far from the only filmmaker to become possessed by the monumental trompe l’oeil of world history. David Lynch struggled long and hard to produce a debut film, Eraserhead, whereby a chronic Grad Student and his guardian angel range themselves against a donkey fetus. At the opposite pole from Haneke’s multiply-honored and presently in question film, there is another entry from 2012, paying homage to Lynch and serving up a cast of characters not nearly as respectable as Georges and Anne, namely, Lee Daniel’s much maligned pisser, The Paperboy. (more…)

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