For weeks now, I've been hearing and reading about Amour, the much-discussed film by Michael Haneke, especially with my friend Teju Cole, who wrote a review of it for the New Yorker blog. Early yesterday morning I took this photograph for him; the feeling of the image seems to express some of my own trepidation about seeing the film, which is no doubt inextricably tied up in my own feelings about age itself, and particularly about facing old age with a lifelong, beloved partner.
Whether I'll actually go see the movie is still up in the air. I find that I have problems with its premise - a kind of "what-if" scenario designed perhaps to make us think, perhaps to shock, perhaps to manipulate our shared anxiety, with its depiction of a potential reality. What is amour, actually -- what is love, at these extremes?
For me, having helped care for elderly loved ones, it wouldn't, couldn't end this way, nor would I want it to end that way for me. A different path is understandable, perhaps. I felt that these end-times were sacred, and very much a part of the long lives I had been part of. The medical care did a great deal to alleviate pain and suffering; perhaps I have too much faith in it, but that's still what I observed. We'd want to try to be faithful right up to the end -- that's what we promised -- though there's no black-and-white answer, beforehand, to what one would want, or do, only the grey of a cold morning.
Have you seen the film? What did you think?
(here's a very different take on the film, also on the New Yorker blog, by Richard Brody.)