Friday, January 11, 2013
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.