|Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on January 15, 2013 at 4:20 PM|
IDEA: The lives of an octogenarian couple are turned upside down when the wife suffers a debilitating stroke, her condition worsening by the day.
BLURB: Michael Haneke makes us watch, unflinchingly. He makes us look plainly at frailty, cruelty, and profound frustration. It’s usually not easy; gazing upon the physically and mentally ailing Anne in harsh, clinical long takes is sometimes a test of endurance, our natural instinct being to look away. Haneke doesn’t let us. Brilliantly, the film is entirely unsentimental and not for a moment manipulative or voyeuristic. We are the observers, and what happens before us is life, death, and memory, all united by an enduring love. The amazing Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva convey this love, as does the place they call home: the apartment that serves as the cocoon of their shared history, decorated with all the warmth and success they’ve built together. This is as much a meditation on people coping with death as it is a respectful confrontation between the audience and its own leeriness towards the subject. Because Haneke treats cinema as a non-judgmental window, we the viewers are not intruders breaching private territory, but dignified participants ordained with the trust to come inside.