By Edward Davis | The Playlist November 21, 2012 at 5:05PM
If you're a fan of the severe minister of fear, Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke -- who seems to get repulsed by nearly anything -- then thus far you've been treated to just two of the same images of his latest movie "Amour" since its debut at Cannes in May of this year. And that's perhaps partly because the film isn't the most appealing concept of all time: "Amour" centers on a retired octeganarian couple living out the winter years of their lives in peaceful quietude, but things suddently change when the matriarch has a stroke and her health suddenly takes a horrible turn for the worse.
Starring French acting icon Jean-Louis Trintignant ("The Conformist," "Z," François Truffaut's final film, "Confidentially Yours," Krzysztof Kieślowski's last film, "Three Colors: Red," etc.) -- who came out of retirement to work with Haneke because he loved his films so much -- and Emmanuelle Riva ("Hiroshima mon amour"), the picture also co-stars Isabelle Huppert as their adult daughter.
So essentially: here's a bunch of photos from a film about an old couple who basically have to hold on to their love for one another while one of them undergoes a bleak and miserable slow death. Fun! All dumb jokes aside, "Amour" is devastating, bleak, but humanistic and even hopeful in its own strange way. Our review from Cannes said: "['Amour'] is as unrelenting and unflinching as you might expect from the provocateur, but there is tenderness within that marks a bit of a new direction for the helmer."
It's certainly not the easiest film to watch, but it's as striking and powerful as anything Michael Haneke has made thus far and, while not for the faint at heart, we do recommend it. There's also talk that with the median age of Oscar voters being 62, this could resonate deeply. Whether it can score a Best Picture nomination as some suggest is another question entirely, but some have posited that outcome as a possiblity. "Amour" opens up its naked, raw heart on December 19th in limited release. If these photos and this post are too depressing, cheer yourself up by checking out Haneke's amusing (and fake) Twitter account.