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Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple's bond of love is severely tested.
For more about Amour and the Amour Blu-ray release, see the Amour Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 1, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, William Shimell
Director: Michael Haneke
» See full cast & crew
Amour Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 1, 2013
Winner of Oscar Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Michael Haneke's "Amour" (2012) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; video introduction by French writer and critic Philippe Rouyer; making of featurette; and a video interview with Jean-Louis Trintignant. In French, with imposed English subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant, The Conformist, And Hope to Die) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Léon Morin, Priest) are in their 80s and living in a large apartment somewhere in Paris. They are retired music teachers who like to attend concerts and talk about classical music. They are still very much in love.
One day, the couple's relationship is tested after Anne has a seizure of some sort while having breakfast with Georges. Concerned about Anne's health, Georges immediately contacts their doctor, who confirms that she has had a stroke. Partially paralyzed, Anne begs Georges to promise that he will take care of her at home, because she does not want to spend her final days in a hospital. Rather reluctantly, Georges agrees.
Soon after, Georges and Anne are visited by their daughter Eva (Isabelle Huppert, Time of the Wolf), who is married to an Englishman and spends most of her time on the road. Eva offers to assist Georges, but he makes it clear to her that he and Anne do not want her to be in the middle of their relationship. At first Georges' directness upsets Eva, but later on she agrees that he is right to ask her to respect their privacy and leaves.
Meanwhile, Anne's condition deteriorates, and Georges is forced to hire a nurse to look after her. Anne's desire to put an end to her misery, however, creates a great deal of tension between Georges and the nurse, as he incorrectly assumes that the nurse isn't as careful with Anne as she should be. Visibly frustrated, Georges fires the nurse and proceeds to do as much as he can to assist the bed-bound and already unable to speak properly Anne.
Michael Haneke's Amour, which won the prestigious Palme d'Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival last year, is an uncompromisingly honest, to the point of at times being cruel, film about love and dignity that should resonate with anyone who has had to see a loved one gradually lose his hold on life. The film is about those final moments when one has to cope with the realization that death is a natural part of life.
Despite some genuinely disturbing sequences where Haneke points the camera at Anne and shows her suffering, Amour isn't a hyper-realistic film. The intent behind it is not to shock the viewer, but to give a sense of the inevitable - a type of experience virtually everyone will have to deal with at some point. This is done with a great deal of respect and kindness.
There are no stylistic surprises - camera movement is minimal while close-ups are often prolonged. Virtually the entire film also takes place inside the apartment where Georges and Anne have spent the majority of their life together. They are not always in front of the camera and silence often becomes quite heavy. As it is almost always the case with Haneke's films, there isn't a music score.
Trintignant, arguably the greatest French actor alive, is incredible as the reserved and respectful Georges. Haneke wrote Amour's script for Trintignant, who came out of a 14-year retirement to play his part. Riva, a true legend, should have won an Oscar Award for her enormously moving performance.
Amour was lensed by cinematographer Darius Khondji, who also collaborated with Haneke on the English-language remake of Funny Games.
Amour Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Michael Haneke's Amour arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye.
Shot with the Arri Alexa camera, Amour looks notably crisp and clean. Rather large portions of the film take place inside Georges and Anne's apartment where light is often subdued, but depth and clarity are consistently pleasing. Where light is in abundance, select close-ups look like digital photographs. Color reproduction is also impressive - there is a wide range of very natural cool and cold colors. Light grays, blues, and browns often fill up the screen. Contrast is stable. There are no traces of problematic lab corrections. There are no serious compression anomalies to report in this review either. There is one sequence, very early into the film, immediately after Georges and Anne return from the concert, where I noticed some extremely light banding, but more than likely its presence will be missed by casual viewers. To sum it all up, this an excellent presentation of Amour, which I am convinced will please even the most demanding amongst its fans. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Amour Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Artificial Eye have provided imposed English subtitles for the main feature. This means that they cannot be turned off while viewing the film.
Amour does not have a prominent music score. In fact, there are only a few sequences where classical music is heard (either CD recordings or live piano performances). Depth and clarity, however, are outstanding. The dialog is also exceptionally crisp, clear, stable, and easy to follow. Also, there are no audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review. The English translation is outstanding.
Amour Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Amour Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Michael Haneke's Amour is the most honest, most brutal yet genuinely uplifting film about love that I have ever seen. I think it is fair to say that it is also Haneke's best film to date. If you are an English-speaker and reside in a Region-B country, I urge to consider adding Amour to your collection. And if you reside in North America, let's hope that you will be able to purchase a local Blu-ray release soon. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Amour Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Amour Blu-ray (Updated) - June 10, 2013
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has revealed that it plans to bring to Blu-ray award winning director Michael Haneke's Amour (2012), starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, and Isabelle Huppert. The preliminary release date set by the studio is August ...
• Amour Detailed - February 6, 2013
Independent British distributors Artificial Eye have detailed their upcoming Blu-ray release of director Michael Haneke's Amour (2012), starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, and Isabelle Huppert. The release will be available for purchase online and ...
• Michael Haneke's Amour Gets UK Release Date - November 6, 2012
Independent British distributors Artificial Eye will release on Blu-ray acclaimed director Michael Haneke's latest film Amour (2012). The film stars legendary actors Jean-Louis Trintingnant, Emmanuelle Riva, and Isabelle Huppert, and it will be available for purchase ...
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