Alliance Française screens Oscar-winning ‘Amour’

One of the most highly acclaimed foreign films of recent years, Austrian director Michael Haneke’s Amour, is to be screened at the San Francisco Alliance Française movie night on Tuesday, July 19. Described by the Philadelphia Enquirer as “a masterpiece”, Amour features a cast headed by legendary French stars Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert.

Trintignant and Riva play an elderly couple, Georges and Anne.  Both in their eighties, they are cultured, former music teachers. The pianist Alexandre Tharaud also features in the film, using his own name, but playing the role of one of Anne’s finest pupils. Isabelle Huppert plays their daughter, Eva, who lives abroad, with her family.

When Anne suffers the first of two strokes, she makes Georges promise that he’ll never put her in a hospital or home, but as Anne’s condition is complicated by the onset of a form of dementia, the enormity of his promise becomes ever harder to bear. As her health deteriorates, Georges finds himself having to care for her without any palliative care or assistance until she passes away.

If this sounds somewhat depressing, bear in mind the calibre of the three main actors, and the acclaim which the film has received from a wide range of critics.

Entertainment Weekly referred to Amour as “the most hauntingly honest movie about old age ever made”, adding “In Amour, these two actors show us what love is, what it really looks like, and what it may, at its most secret moments, demand”.

Empire pulled no punches: “Michael Haneke’s Palme D’Or winner is uncomfortable, uncompromising, unflinching… and utterly unmissable. Old age may not be a reality you wish to confront, but you must see this film.”

The New York Times described it as “A masterpiece about life, death and everything in between”, and Time magazine wrote: “In the history of movies about love, Amour shall last forever”.

Not only did Amour win the 2013 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, but – among its 76 awards – were the 2013 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and two 2013 BAFTAs for Best Film not in the English Language, and for Emmanuelle Riva as Best Leading Actress. Amour won Michael Haneke the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Festival de Cannes as well.

The film also received 101 nominations, among which were those at the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Motion Picture of the Year, for Emmanuelle Riva as Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, for Haneke for Best Achievement in Directing and Best Writing, Original Screenplay. BAFTA nominations for Michael Haneke included the BAFTA Film Award for Best Original Screenplay and the David Lean Award for Best Director.

The last word of praise goes to the New York Observer: “Don’t let Amour join the legion of ‘Best Films You Never Saw’. I urge you to share its sweetness and wisdom, and learn something.”

A collaboration between France, and Germany and Austria, Amour is shown in French with English subtitles.  The Alliance Française community partner for this event is the Goethe-Institut in San Francisco.

The screening takes place at the Alliance Française, 1345 Bush Street, on Tuesday, July 19, at 7.00 pm. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested.  The film is rated PG-13.
Alliance Française


Michael Haneke

Jean-Louis Trintignant

Emmanuelle Riva

Isabelle Huppert

Alexandre Tharaud




Philadelphia Enquirer

Entertainment Weekly


The New York Times


New York Observer


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