One of my favorites last year at TIFF was Michael Haneke’s “Amour” — in fact, it was my pick as last year’s best film. To tie in with its release on DVD and Blu-ray, I wrote a bit about the film for BuffaloSpree.com. It really is a film that is ideal for viewing at home, and despite how difficult it is to watch, I hope it reaches a new audience.
There are certain films that are just made for the big-screen — if you’re going to see “Pacific Rim,” it is probably theater or bust — and there are others that seem ideally suited to an intimate setting. Michael Haneke’s overwhelmingly emotional “Amour” is one of the latter picks.
The Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film arrives tomorrow on DVD and Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and my guess is many who were turned off to the idea of seeing a film about a long-married couple whose lives are turned upside down when the wife suffers a stroke will rent it. I expect they’ll come away moved, especially since so many of us have gone through similar situations in our own families. When I saw the film at a Saturday night public screening at last September’s Toronto International Film Festival, I became aware, early in the film, of the sounds of sobbing. As the film progressed, these sounds became more and more pronounced.
Some of this reaction is due to the note-perfect performances from legendary stars Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, but I could not help thinking that for many in the audience, “Amour” was hitting close to home. It certainly did for me—it was my pick as last year’s No. 1 film.
I am not exaggerating when I saw that this film might be the finest ever made about love and aging. It is certainly Haneke’s (“The White Ribbon,” “Cache,” “Funny Games”) most human creation, yet it retains the air of mystery and unease that defines his best work. Most films that arrive with this level of praise are a letdown, but this is not the case when it comes to “Amour.” It is a game-changing film.
The DVD and Blu-ray both include a making-of feature, as well as a Q-and-A with the soft-spoken Haneke. Even if you’ve already seen “Amour,” revisiting is wise. That’s another sign of a great film. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; 2013)
Left to Right: Director Michael Haneke, Emmanuelle Riva, and Jean-Louis Trintignant
PHOTO BY © DENIS MANIN, COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES CLASSICS