Cannes 2014: Amour Fou
There is something insatiable about Jessica Hausner’s Un Certain Regarde entry Amour Fou, it’s just hard to pinpoint what exactly. While the film sinks in with the weight of a feather, the feeling of satisfaction still dominates the sense of boredom, though the latter’s undeniable presence stops the loving dead at its tracks. Henrietta Vogel is a married woman in 18th century Berlin, living with and for her husband and their daughter. Being from the aristocratic branch of society, Henrietta’s main preoccupation is entertaining guests; various distinguished ladies and gentlemen, artists, and politicians. When one of these guests, Heinrich the poet, declares his love for Henrietta things take a turn for the interesting. Mainly because Heinrich’s version of happily ever after is slightly…crazy. There’s your jist, and it’s enough to keep the story from ever becoming too unattractive.
Hausner’s keen eye for austerity and a mise-en-scene frozen in time keeps the wandering eye from wandering away too much, even if some events on screen keep involuntarily nudging you to wander on away. This mostly happens with the use of song, which feels tedious regardless of the contextual incentive. Amour Fou did have its spot in Way Too Indie’s Top 10 most anticipated Cannes films, and there’s much left to admire here but it’s still got a piece of heart missing. Nevertheless, after two duds it’s refreshing to know that Un Certain Regarde isn’t completely doomed this year.