Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Amour is a watershed movie:a very important point of transition.  Amour will change the making of films for better or for worse.
Here's why:
In a movie theater, why do you continue to watch the screen?  Well we think we've always known the answer to that one. We've got that one solved. We watch because we want to find out where the story is going.  Our interest has been aroused: will Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert get together?  What will the King of England say to President Roosevelt? Will our hero get his revenge on those who have harmed his loved one? Notice that these are broad subjects.  They carry the viewer along from scene to scene.

In Amour we are not partially suspended wondering what will happen next.  we are fixed in present time, urgently wanting to know, "What is happening now?"
Right now,in front of us (no overview)a man sits on a small sofa reading a paper and his wife lies dead in the other room. Glued to the screen, we watch avidly as a man reads his paper.  The camera doesn't move.  In present time, right now, we ask ourselves, "what is he doing?"  "what is he doing?" "what is he doing lying there reading that paper?"
 Or, we have before us, a man catching a pigeon.  Right now, in present time, we are watching to see if he will catch the pigeon. We know it is happening now, right now and not shot earlier and later and edited together -because the camera doesn't move.

Nothing is done for us. Nothing is pressed forward into our faces.  We must find it in there for ourselves. Our attention and interest are invited in. We are the ones reaching toward the screen. It is not the film maker's notion that he must hand us over the scene after he has made into the collage  he is moderately sure will be understood the way that he has made it to mean.

Because of the elegance of this film, the unmoving camera causing reliance upon human perception and the concentrated  brilliance of the performances, the ending of this movie can be pure metaphor. 

I dont remember ever seeing a movie where the ending is utterly satisfying in every way, and yet it is pure metaphor.  Again, not depending for its meaning upon fact and generalities, it can be as specific as true metaphors always are, and as truthful as they always are.       

Funny how it took the French to show us the new way.  Reminds me of the sixties.