The 13th IFI French Film Festival, 14 – 25 November, IFI, Dublin
This year’s IFI French Film Festival was officially opened last night by H.E Mrs Emmanuelle d’Achon, Ambassador of France, and with the screening and Irish premiere of the ferociously tender film Amour. Michael Haneke’s stunning requiem of love and death made its mark on a packed cinema at the IFI to such an extent that there was a palpable feeing of raw emotion as the film’s credits rose in silence at the end.
The film won the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and stars two legends of French cinema – Emmanuelle Riva (Anne) and Jean-Louis Trintignant (George) – who shared the screen together before in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy – as a retired couple living together who must come to terms with the realities of Anne’s debilitating stroke.
Haneke’s camera fearlessly focuses on the grim realities of suffering and the distressing degenerating nature of Anne’s physical and mental descent. And yet the film never veers towards the sentimental, as it portrays how George copes with the deterioration of his beloved. This is a film of magnificent beauty – of a couple’s bond that intertwines their existences; of a loyalty and a love forged stronger through an agonizing experience.
There are some excruciating scenes. And as always with Haneke there are times we don’t want to look, but we must. And these scenes feed into the sublime moments of tenderness that attests to the film’s ultimate triumph.
What Haneka achieves is to bring together extreme emotions, and from such harrowing tragedy carve ultimate joy.
A beautiful piece of cinema.
The IFI French Film Festival 2012 continues today with Camille Rewinds (Camille Redouble) at 18.20, Noémie Lvovsky’s Marty McFly-like comedy of a a 40-year-old boozy divorcee, who one day wakes up in her schooldays of 1985 to be granted a second chance at life. What’s French for ‘Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?’
Also on offer is You Ain’t Seen Nothin‘ Yet! (Vous n’avez encore rien vu) at 18.30. Now 90, Alain Resnais’ ‘two-in-one’ film is bound to be all things meta. Set Rubik’s Cube to stun.
Full details of all the films can be found at www.ifi.ie/FrenchFest