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January 18, 2013


Thanks for that second review by Brody! I was unable to find a single negative review.
"If only some of the uninhibitedly energetic thought and insight of these actors had found its way into Haneke’s movie. Instead, the director films his elderly couple with a superficial simulacrum of wisdom and experience, strips them of traits in order to reduce them to the function of the film..."

Frankly, I see no reason for you to see the movie, aside from the actors' performances. I doubt you'd find either beauty, transcendence or insight in it.

I love Teju Cole, but I probably would side with Brody, that it's a sadistic snuff film disguised as an "arty" cultural offering. But I say this having not seen the film nor having any intention of seeing it. Not after what we went through with my mother in law in her last years.
And we are getting up there ourselves and would rather not be reminded of the possible trials to come. Bring on the Hollywood musicals!

Have not seen it, don't like the sound of it. I would recommend "Carnage", directed by Roman Polanski, with Kate Winslet, Cristoph Waltz, John C. Reilly, and Jody Foster. Waltz is one of my favorite actors, but all four stars shine in this movie, which is very funny and much more. One act, one room, eighty minutes.

I've read a few different reviews, favourable and unfavourable, so have mixed feelings about whether I'd want to see it... probably not as it's too close to our own aging and possible health issues. There was one film we saw a few years ago that we did enjoy, sad though it was, which did not involve actual death but dementia, also a love story between husband and wife - a Canadian film, 'Away from Her' with Julie Christie and directed by Sarah Polley. I recommend it!

I have seen the film... it has the great merit of asking very real questions...that are very difficult to face. This old couple is very left alone to anwser them, but aren't we all, especiallay at that age?

Is there a word limit on your comment box? Or - more likely - have I been excommunicated? I've had three goes with an admittedly lengthy comment which shows up in Preview, then in Post, then disappears. I'll accept excommunication with good grace, I probably deserve it.

RR: I've noticed that in my browser a couple comments show up with the blog post, but one has to click the "comments" link to view the full array.

I haven't seen it, but am interested in the reactions above.

I have seen it and have to comments:
- The actors do a fantastic job
- The plot is too simplified
I see Amour as a chamber play, where the middle part is not rich enough, not sufficiently developed.

Beth: My West Riding upbringing leaves me unwilling to waste a 500-word comment so I’m trying it in two halves.

Brody's a hard guy to please. One gets the feeling that with a few tiny shifts of emphasis in the plot and in the direction Amour could have been the greatest ever movie about old age.

As to his observation that: "the willful exclusion of the characters’ inner life throws the burden of interpretation on viewers" my reaction is this: Brody makes it sound as if Haneke had set out deliberately to make a film for Brody to review. Brody gets worked up about missing moral pointers and being made "complicit with morally dubious deeds" as if lack of a propagandist was something to be deplored. If those deeds are morally dubious and Brody has spotted them, then surely Haneke has done his job.

Obviously Brody is highly intelligent and articulate and I hesitate to draw a rather obvious conclusion. Yet I worry about that early statement: "they’re living outside life, living in that place that exists only in a French screenplay for movies that advertise the French 'cultural exception' to the nation and the world." This sounds suspiciously like a hobby-horse. Might all this be a reference to the NY vs. Paris chasm, a never-to-be-bridged set of cultural differences? What's Brody's opinion generally about French films that talk a lot?

To be continued (if I’m lucky)

Part two from Persisting Brit

I have seen The White Ribbon. Hidden and The Piano Teacher, in each instance applying perhaps 30% of my brain (or possibly using 100% of my brain and only connecting about 30% of the time). I'm astonished about the minutiae Brody can recall and must assume he's seen Amour more than once. I can't pretend the theme of Amour attracts me (given I'm 77) but I will see it if the opportunity crops up since I've seen those three other Haneke films and each has left behind sharp fragments of an intellect at work. Thus I cannot say anything about Amour as an artistic entity or as a vehicle for conveying ideas about old age.

If I do see it I don’t expect a score in excess of 30% but I can't help feeling (perhaps hoping) I may be in the majority. Tomorrow will bring another movie (as last night did in a delightful trip back into my adolescence via The Moon is Blue) and I'm grateful for Brody for acting the high priest on my behalf and telling me what I might have grasped had I applied myself. But in the end that degree of intensity, of inspection, that chasing down of all the mouse-tails disappearing into mouse-holes brings with it the impression of a deconstructive step too far. Pauline Kael managed to write intelligently about films for the New Yorker but didn't leave me exhausted as Brody has done.

My apologies to you, dear Beth, since it may seem I resented this experience which you brought about. I didn't. You continue to show that Cassandra Pages is broad church and I will continue to pop in, glance at the reredos, and pop out, leaving almost nary a trace. Except over-long comments.

And now the coda. 'Twas the absence of a WV panel on my previous attempts that left me floating in air. Glad to know I haven't become an excommunicatee.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.