Reading “Amour”, part one

The next several entries will be about reading and watching "Amour".  There could be spoilers.  What follows is mostly geared toward those of my students (there will be classes next semester) who would care to look closer at the Haneke's work.  I suggest to read the script first, then visit this site and only then see the film.

Perhaps there is a connection between thinking about the way to validate philosophical concepts and constructing emotional universe through scriptwriting.   Let's start with philosophy:

Approaching philosophy: 

As Milan Kundera brilliantly explains using as the example eternal return, the true significance of a philosophical concept can be fully grasped through the exploration of its opposite. 

Perhaps naming the assumptions accompanying an idea could the second methodological tool for the analysis of a concept. 

Furthermore, practical (social and psychological) repercussions derived from a certain theoretical view might as well be the third lens through which one can asses the value of a given theory. 

So we have three elements to evaluate the structure with: the opposites, the assumptions, the repercussions.  How does it work in the screenwriting structure?

Approaching storytelling:

I’ve decided first to read the Haneke’s script and only then to see the film.   Got as far as the page 13 and am floored.  The read is strong, clean, emotional.   The structure is precise, the movement is fast.  

Within the first three scenes we know everything: how the story will end and how it starts.  We know the problem, we know the scope of the emotional trauma we will be taken through.  What’s also very important we love the heros.  Yet, the heros are doomed.  We know it and somehow in the third scene they also realize that.  By placing the end at the beginning, the characters somehow acquire intuition.  Although they don’t know how the story will end, our knowledge of it influences their subjective sensitivities displayed by them within a scene.  

The opposites of what’s coming is the base on which the tragic slowly uncoils itself.  Those would be the concert, ride home, tea drinking, chat about the plumber. 

The assumptions that envelope the story, the glass wall that gets shattered so early on are simple: the status quo will go on, life is good, things must be nice.  

The realization of the repercussions of a simple moment at the end of the “tea scene” is what concluded the introduction and what totally shatters our peace. 

“She takes her cup of tea, as if to show how well she is, and drinks it up. When she wants to re-fill her cup, she completely misses her aim. She notices it, puts down her cup and bursts into tears.”

From this moment on Anne, Georges and every reader are in it together. 

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