Posts Tagged michael haneke

Amour Is Our Film Of The Week

Our recommended film this week couldn’t be other than Michael Haneke’s Palm D’Or winner ‘Amour’, which has been piling up five star reviews since it deservedly won Cannes film festival’s top honour for the second time in the director’s career.

From sexual frustration to the origins of fascism, Haneke has proven to be a master in thought-provoking explorations of mankind’s darkest side. In “Amour” ★★★★★ he reaches a more personal note with a reflection on how to deal with the suffering of a loved one. In carefully intimate detail we are introduced to the life of an elderly couple, magnificently played by French veterans Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, enjoying their golden years comfortably after a lifetime of companionship. When the former classical music teacher suffers a minor stroke, the couple begins to endure her progressively deteriorating situation, prompting her husband to look after her at home. We see them closing down to the world, afraid of showing the indignities of her regressive state; even preventing the visits of her daughter –Isabelle Huppert -, whose role represents the way our society hides these matters away.

“Amour” already stands out in the career of an essential filmmaker as his most compassionate and affecting work yet; one that perfectly avoids both sentimentality and miserabilism in its heart-breaking, yet life-affirming portrayal of the ultimate sacrifice that comes with unconditional love. Much more could be said about Trintignant & Riva’s unforgettable expressions of dignity on coping with a degenerative illness; or the role played by music, namely some of Schubert’s opuses, helping to create the film’s perfectly balanced emotional tone. With the word masterpiece being profusely -and fairly- dropped to describe it, as the award season is about to reveal the critic’s favourites more accolades will follow. In the meantime, do yourself a favour! Go see ”Amour”!.

With no more new entries hitting our top 20; this edition sees other critical favourite “The Master” back to number 2 as the film finished its exclusive 70mm presentation in just a London theatre and went on general release.

Check our current Top 20 favourite movies here. Read the rest of this entry »

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Haneke impresses with new masterpiece.

Just a brief note to recommend with enthusiasm the new film by Michael Haneke, “The White Ribbon”: Doing it justice would require an extended essay rather than a mere blog post. It suffices to say that is probably the best movie we have seen since the same German director astonished the world with “Hidden”.

In a reflexion over his country’s history and the evolution leading to the apparition of the Nazi movement through the life in a small rural community displayed in impressive detail; Haneke keeps on asking all the important questions, while leaving the answers in the air. His philosophical approach gives his films a vitality and intelligence unseen in today’s cinema. The way through which, without resorting to manipulation of any kind –the history is told through the narration of the village’s teacher; devoid of soundtrack, light tricks, etc.- and with a masterful black and white cinematography, Haneke introduce us with slow but assured pace in the secret world of each character -carefully selecting what he shows and what he doesn’t – serves to unveil a world regulated and repressed to asphyxiating levels by class structure; religious intolerance; ignorance and obscurantism of a society that promotes a strong discipline a flawless and formal appearance, but whose heavy dependence on rules drives it to rot to the bone.

Deservedly winner of the Palm D’Or at Cannes; the beauty of every frame, composed in thoughtful detail, and the abundance of ideas exposed in “The White Ribbon” will surely shape it as one of the classics the noughties will be remembered for.

I have to watch it again.

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2009 The Year In Movies: 2-Author, Author.

CHARLIE KAUFFMAN (Synecdoche, New York)

The Oscars are fairly accused of playing conservative. They don’t normally reward the adventurous and challenging, nor the works and directors who try and push the boundaries of the seventh art. That’s why many of the best films every year can be found outside the bandwidth of the Academy. With the independent sector shrinking, the hope for more rewarding filmmaking is in the hands of the so-called authors and their arthouse productions, and 2009 is full of well-established masters bringing their wit and wisdom to the big screen. Read the rest of this entry »

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2008 Film Review: 10 Disappointments

QUANTUM OF SOLACE-Bond didn’t live up to its expectations.
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