Written & Directed by Michael Haneke
Cast: Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud
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It is about the end of things and takes place in the last weeks, days, hours.
There are only two of them but it is their wish to be alone.
She was a teacher, a cultured woman and aesthete. Her students have achieved honors and she has lived and thought and made love and music…and now she is slipping away.
He is old too, but not nearly so afflicted. The two of them have known each other most of his adult life. He dreads the notion of being alone. He grieves at how she suffers. He loves her but not what she has become.
Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant are magnificent, inspired, fully inhabiting the roles of Georges and Anne. They’re so convincing and authentic, I was immediately subsumed in the constricted universe they created together. Ms. Riva has been singled out for special praise and while that is commendable, Mr. Trintignant occupies the screen even longer, often in an attitude of silence, a cruel vacancy nothing can fill. In his quiet way, he is equally effective.
Michael Haneke’s direction is austere, unsparing. Eschewing tricks, visual pyrotechnics. He is not a director who averts his gaze. “Georges” and “Anne” might be our future selves. Aging, befuddled, fearful; straining in the dark, making sure their loved one is still breathing.
No incidental music, no swelling strings.
Long, patient shots. Somewhere, Andrei Tarkovsky is smiling.
This is what we come to, this is what remains.
Only to lean over, blow out the candle…
ΩΩΩΩΩ (Highest Rating)