Beauty in age: 'Amour' charms its audience

"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 Amour, Michael Haneke's new film, 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 classical piano concert. 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. Full review.

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