Double Feature – Oscar Finalists at Cedar Lee
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) at 1:50 p.m.
Amour (2012) at 4:10 p.m.
We’ll be doing our Oscar homework this week with these two Best Picture Nominees. The young protagonist in Beasts of the Southern Wild - Quvenzhané Wallis – is my pick to win Best Actress in a Leading Role – hands down.
Then we’ll screen Amour from Michael Haneke, the same director who gave us The White Ribbon (Das weiße Band - Eine Deutsche Kindergeschichte), an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009.
Considering Haneke’s accomplishments and the awards already presented, one could easily consider Amour as a favorite for the Foreign Language Film Oscar this year and he just might grab the Best Picture gold as well. The list is impressive. (click here) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amour_(2012_film)
Come for one or come for both! After Amour – around 6:30 p.m. – we’ll head next door to Lemon Grass for dinner and discussion. Both of these films provide plenty of fodder for a lively discussion.
And then on Friday we’ll head down to the Cinemark in Valley View for another Double Feature – the Oscar Nominated Live Action and Animated Shorts followed by dinner at nearby LockKeepers.
1:50 p.m. - Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Rated: PG-13 | Running time: 91 minutes
Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis Dwight Henry
That's right, this is just the beginning! The four-time Oscar-nominated film BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay) is back. If you missed seeing BEASTS on the glory of the big, silver screen, well, now's your chance at redemption. We saw it this summer and now look forward to a second screening.
Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in "the Bathtub," a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink's tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe for a time when he's no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack-temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink's health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.
Finally, the Oscars have given us something to really be excited about – the nomination of Quvenzhané Wallis for Best Actress for her portrayal of “Hushpuppy” in Beasts of the Southern Wild. She was barely 5 years old when cast for the part and had just turned 7 when filming was completed.
Hushpuppy has a special relationship with animals ......
4:10 p.m. - Amour (2012)
Rated: PG-13 | Running time: 127 minutes
Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant Emmanuelle Riva Isabelle Huppert Michael Haneke
Octogenarians Georges and Anne are retired music teachers whose daughter lives abroad with her family. When Anne suffers a stroke and is left paralyzed on one side of her body, the couple's abiding love for each other is put to the test.
Liebe, Любовь, Agapi
Directed by Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon 2009)
In French and English with subtitles, 127 minuets
Rated PG-13 (for mature thematic material, including a disturbing act, and brief language).
Anne - Emmanuelle Riva
Georges - Jean-Louis Trintignant
Eva - Isabelle Huppert
Geoff - William Shimell
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.
Considering Haneke’s accomplishments and the awards already presented, one could easily consider Amour as a favorite for the Foreign Language Film Oscar this year. The list is impressive. (click here)
Trailer (click here)
Facebook Page (click here)
Amour Web Site (click here)
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Amour (pronounced: [a.muʁ]; French for "Love") is a 2012 French-language drama film written and directed by the Austrian filmmakerMichael Haneke, starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert. The narrative focuses on an elderly couple, Anne and Georges, who are retired music teachers with a daughter who lives abroad. Anne suffers a stroke which paralyses her on one side of her body. The film is a co-production between the French, German, and Austrian companies Les Films du Losange, X-Filme Creative Pool, and Wega Film.
The film was screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d'Or. It has been selected as the Austrian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, making the January shortlist. At the 25th European Film Awards, it was nominated in six categories, winning in four, including Best Film and Best Director. At the 47th National Society of Film Critics Awards it won the awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress. At the 66th British Academy Film Awards it has been nominated in four categories, including Best Director and Best Leading Actress. At the 85th Academy Awards the film has been nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Emmanuelle Riva), Best Original Screenplay (Michael Haneke), Best Director (Michael Haneke) and Best Foreign Language Film. At the age of 85, Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest nominee for the Best Actress in a Leading Role.
The opening scene shows firemen breaking down the door of an apartment in Paris to find the corpse of Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) lying on a bed. The doors had been taped shut and she is adorned with cut flowers.
Anne is married to Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who are both retired music teachers in their eighties. One morning, they are eating breakfast together and Anne goes silent. She doesn't respond to Georges as she sits in a catatonic state. Georges tries to get her attention and goes off to get help. She then comes round, but doesn't remember anything that took place. Georges thinks she was playing a prank on him, but she rebuffs this by thinking that Georges is going mad.
Anne needs to undergo surgery on a blocked carotid artery, but the surgery goes wrong leaving her partially paralysed and confined to a wheelchair. She makes Georges promise not to send her back to the hospital or go into a nursing home. However, she suffers a further stroke and her condition worsens. Georges continues to look after Anne, despite the strain it puts on him to do so. Georges begins employing a nurse three days a week, to help care for Anne. Their daughter Eva (Isabelle Huppert) wishes for her mother to go into care, but Georges says that would break the promise he made to Anne.
Georges employs a second nurse to help care for Anne, but after he discovers that she is mis-treating his wife, he fires her. Anne can no longer speak coherently and fluctuates between pain, sombreness and light singing with Georges' encouragement. A moment occurs where Anne refuses to drink the water that Georges is providing her, this causes great frustration to Georges. One day, Georges sits next to Anne's bedside after she has been crying out, apparently in pain. He tells her a story of his childhood, and as it reaches the conclusion, he grabs the pillow on the bed and smothers Anne.
Georges returns home with bundles of flowers in his hands, which he proceeds to wash and cut. He picks out a dress from Anne's wardrobe and writes a long letter. He tapes the bedroom door shut and captures a pigeon which has flown in from the window. In the letter, Georges explains that he has released the pigeon. Georges hears Anne in the kitchen, she is washing dishes. Speechless, he gazes at Anne, as she cleans up and prepares to leave the house. Anne calls for Georges to bring a coat, and he complies, following her out the door. The film concludes with their daughter, Eva seated in the living room, after she had wandered slowly around the now empty home.
• Jean-Louis Trintignant as Georges Laurent
• Emmanuelle Riva as Anne Laurent
• Isabelle Huppert as Eva
• Alexandre Tharaud as Alexandre
• William Shimell as Geoff
• Ramón Agirre as Concierge's husband
• Rita Blanco as Concierge
• Carole Franck as Nurse
• Dinara Droukarova as Nurse
• Laurent Capelluto as Police officer
• Jean-Michel Monroc as Police officer
• Suzanne Schmidt as Neighbor
• Walid Afkir as Paramedic
• Damien Jouillerot as Paramedic
The film was produced for €7,290,000 through France's Les Films du Losange, Germany's X-Filme Creative Pool and Austria's Wega Film. It received co-production support from France 3 and €404,000 in support from the Île-de-France region. Further funding was granted by the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg in Germany and National Center of Cinematography and the moving image in France. Principal photography took place from 7 February to 1 April 2011.
After 14 years, Jean-Louis Trintignant came back on screen for Haneke. Haneke had sent Trintignant the script, which had been written specifically for him. Trintignant said that he chooses which films he works in on the basis of the director, and said of Haneke that "he has the most complete mastery of the cinematic discipline, from technical aspects like sound and photography to the way he handles actors".
The film is based on an identical situation that happened in Haneke's family. The issue that interested him the most was: "How to manage the suffering of someone you love?"
The film has been met with acclaim from film critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 93% based on 115 reviews, with an average rating of 8.6/10, while Metacritic gives a weighted average rating of 93 based reviews from 35 critics.
Writing for The Guardian after the Cannes screening, Peter Bradshaw said "this is film-making at the highest pitch of intelligence and insight". Jamie Graham of Total Film gaveAmour 5 stars out of 5, stating "far from being a cold, scientific study from a filmmaker frequently accused of placing a pane of glass between his work and his viewers, this sensitive film emerges heartfelt and humane." Dave Calhoun of Time Out London also gave the film 5 out of 5 stars, stating "Amour is devastatingly original and unflinching in the way it examines the effect of love on death, and vice versa". Calling Amour the best film of 2012, critic A. O. Scott of The New York Times said that "months after its debut at Cannes this film already feels permanent." Writing in The Times, critic Manohla Dargis hailed the film as "a masterpiece about life, death and everything in between." The newspaper flagged the film as a critics' pick. The Wall Street Journal's film critic Joe Morgenstern wrote of Amour: "Mr. Haneke's film, exquisitely photographed by Darius Khondji, has won all sorts of prizes all over the world, and no wonder; the performances alone set it off as a welcoming masterpiece."
On the other hand, one of the film's detractors had stated that "Haneke is playing with the same themes of alienation and isolation, repression and bleakness that have marked his entire career", and that the "poor characters are merely players in a signature act of desperation, Haneke style." Calum Marsh of the Slant Magazine indicated that the film "isn't the work of a newly moral or humanistic filmmaker, but another ruse by the same unscrupulous showman whose funny games have been beguiling us for years", adding that "Haneke's gaze, trained from an unbridgeable remove, carries no inflection of empathy; his style is too frigid, his investment too remote, for the world of these characters to open up before us, for their pain to ever feel like something more than functional."
BY ROGER EBERT / January 9, 2013
"Old age ain't no place for sissies," Bette Davis is said to have said, and the longer age lasts, the less of a sissy you can be. The opening shot of Michael Haneke's "Amour" shows firemen breaking into an elegant apartment in Paris. We know nothing about who lives here, and are told nothing — except in pantomime, as one fireman holds his nose. In a bedroom, the body of an old woman is found in bed, surrounded by desiccated flowers.
That's what it comes down to, finally, the mortal remains and the faded memories of beauty. But this is true only for outsiders, for the dead, for the firemen. For the living, it's wonderful to be a member of the audience. Another of this film's very early shots is from a point of view on a stage, regarding the audience at a piano recital. We never see the stage. The subject is the act of watching. The music is passionate, the audience appreciative, and its members seem to know why it is fine and why they like it. They have earned in a lifetime the privilege of being in this audience.
What alchemy drew my eyes to one particular old couple in the audience? A director can stage a shot to force us how to look at it, but Haneke here is deliberately objective. Still, I noticed these two. They are played by Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant, both now in their 80s, and although they've been giants of the French cinema for decades, I can't say that I recognized them at this age. What must have drawn me were certain qualities: their self-possession, their inner peace, a sense that they had earned the right to be together.
They are Anne and Georges. We learn they've spend their lives performing and teaching music. Later we will learn that the concert is being performed by a young master (Alexandre Tharaud) who was Anne's pupil. In a sense, they have brought forth this beauty into their own lives.
"Amour," which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes last year, is an unexpected kind of masterpiece by Haneke, whose films have included the enigmatic "Caché" and the earlier Golden Palm winner "The White Ribbon." We don't expect such unflinching seriousness, such profundity from Haneke. Unlike a mysterious film such as "Caché," which audiences are still debating, this one is "spoiler"-proof. Its opening scene essentially tells us how it will end.
Now regard Anne and Georges at breakfast soon after. He doesn't even notice that she has momentarily frozen. She is … somewhere else. The specific shots of this sequence are masterful. Then she returns, unaware that anything has happened, but something has, and her stroke is the beginning of the end for their history together.
In scenes that are all flashbacks from the scene with the firemen, we see Anne and Georges during a visit from their protégé Alexandre (playing himself), and later when their daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert), visits, and reveals herself to be more interested in the problems caused by the stroke than by the heartbreak caused to her parents. Georges and Anne have shared a great love, and now Georges, during an implacable series of scenes, becomes a member of one more audience, watching the end of what he and Anne built and will now lose.
Old age isn't for sissies, and neither is this film. Trintignant and Riva courageously take on these roles, which strip aside all the glamor of their long careers (he starred in "A Man and a Woman," she most famously in "Hiroshima, Mon Amour"). Their beauty has faded, but it glows from within. It accepts unflinchingly the realities of age, failure and the disintegration of the ego.
Yes, and to watch "Amour" invites us — another audience — to accept them, too. When I saw "Hiroshima, Mon Amor" (1959), I was young and eager and excited to be attending one of the first French art films I'd ever seen. It helped teach me what it was, and who I was. Now I see that the film, its actors and its meaning have all been carried on, and that the firemen are going to come looking for all of us one of these days, sooner or later.
This is now. We are filled with optimism and expectation. Why would we want to see such a film, however brilliantly it has been made? I think it's because a film like "Amour" has a lesson for us that only the cinema can teach: the cinema, with its heedless ability to leap across time and transcend lives and dramatize what it means to be a member of humankind's eternal audience.
French-language masterpiece of the year, 14 November 2012
Author: Patryk Czekaj from Warsaw
The fact that Amour is an instant classic in the art-house world is as indisputable as the emotions presented by the protagonists of the film are bewildering. This picture is Haneke's minimalistic yet mightily expressive homage to love as we know it, showing the feeling's overpowering force and heartfelt, altruistic nature. While remaining a thoroughly unsentimental and provocative picture, Amour delivers a most-demanding portrayal of an elderly couple's last days together. Those cultivated, sophisticated characters need to evaluate their long-lasting marriage and come to terms with their own emotions, and, simultaneously, discover the true meaning of love in itself. Decisions need to be made, and some of them might be shocking to say the least.
It's a beautiful but considerable piece of filmmaking, where a sombre atmosphere and touching yet disturbing imagery permeate every scene. Haneke's steady and visionary directorial hand promises many moving and heartbreaking sequences, while still providing a poetic exemplification of a well- lived life's concluding moments. It's impossible to find neither a plausible sense of redemption nor an authentic touch of consolation, no. The film displays a marvelous character-driven narrative, where loving individuals diverge from the seemingly familiar path and start arguing with their own opinions and ideals, leading to some truly perplexing choices. In the most unexpected manner Amour touches the controversial topic of euthanasia, emphatically depicting how difficult it might seem to even consider such a harsh decision.
Amour is a tender, scrupulous, demanding, two-hour visualization of a romance well beyond boundaries, and through its difficult notions it shows human existence in its most intimate and most elegiac state. That death seems inevitable from the very first minutes is certain, but the way Haneke chooses in order to finally arrive at this intensely upsetting conclusion is an uneasy one. Amour is definitely a cinematic powerhouse, which will leave the audiences in a most pensive, quiet - even downcast - mood, still astounding with its ubiquitous beauty.
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