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Amour Fou

2014 [GERMAN]

Comedy / Drama

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Sandra Hüller Photo
Sandra Hüller as Marie
Christian Friedel Photo
Christian Friedel as Heinrich
Hana Sofia Lopes Photo
Hana Sofia Lopes as Older Sister
Sebastian Hülk Photo
Sebastian Hülk as Ernst von Pfuel
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
881.13 MB
German 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 35 min
P/S 2 / 25
1.77 GB
German 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 35 min
P/S 4 / 42

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by zacknabo7 / 10

Balanced Understated Okay Outing for Hausner

Berlin, early 19th century, Romantic Era, a time when Goethe's writings were leading many young boys to mysteriously commit suicide across Germany, it here we meet a young poet Heinrich (Chrisitan Friedel). Heinrich claims, "that it is not the fear of death, but the fear of life which he cannot live with." The young morbid, obsessive Romantic wants to join what he sees the two tenants of Romanticism in life: the ultimate show of love through death (which he will manifest through a murder suicide). Amour Fou, Austrian director Jessica Hausner's follow-up to her successful look at dogma-less religious fervor, doubt and jealousy in her 2009 success Lourdes, is just as placidly composed and as narratively deliberate as its predecessor, and a brush of black-comedy underlies both. Heinrich, in love with his cousin Marie, wants her to join his suicide pact, but she denies him. Heinrich, forlorn at what he sees as his cousin's inconceivable refusal and distraught by his cousins' insensitivity to his sensibilities, yet seeming a bit like destiny he meets the married Henriette (Brit Schoenik). Heinrich holds her mystified, but when Heinrich proposes his suicide pact to her, it appears it will be another refusal, until Henriette finds that she is terminally ill. The back-and-forth between Heinrich who does not quite want to give up on killing himself and Marie but does not want to miss his chance with Henriette, and Heinrich selfishly wanting Henriette to want to die out of pure love and not just because of her possible terminal-illness, while all the while knowing that it is Marie he loves most of all, works wonders for the complexity of the film and the intertwining of relationships within the narrative.

What makes Amour Fou standout among other films of it's like is the way in which Hausner, cinematographer Martin Gschlacht and production designer Katharina Woppermann capture the essence of this time in German history with a precise visual sense. Each frame is structured precisely—especially the interiors which are geometrically defined tableaux)—each sequence layered, some look as though they are tableaux vivant. Most of the scenes are witnessed through a detached camera that allows characters to move in and out of the distinctive picturesque shots or on the contrary allows them to stand and be examined statically from a slight distance, allowing the audience to pick up on minute (but important) details like facial gestures, mannerisms, etc. which builds tension within every scene, especially the scenes in which Heinrich's awkward presence looms like a bird of doom, perpetually out of place and easily mortified by the overlapping dialogue and the rhetoric it contains (where the audience can be clued in on the historic mindset of the Berlin bourgeoisie at this time). The musical piano numbers that are interspersed through the film, happening at each party, are mystifying, and are also filmed in the layered, tableaux form of most interior scenes. Amor Fou impresses in how it handles characters, changes points of view with such ease, and handles the subject matter quietly and evenhandedly. Instead of making the film a straightforward cliché of Romantic period artists, Hausner chooses to drive her characters by honest dialogue, somewhat realistic approaches to performances and does not try and hide or romanticize the selfish, ridiculous, egotistical tendencies and mindsets of the narrative's two main characters, nor their misunderstanding of what "love" truly means. Yet, the most commendable (outside the visual mastery of each scene) is the way Hausner examines her characters non-moralistically, never harshly judgmental, nor relishing in their life altering mistakes. The story itself and the time frame it is set in are based on real events, though Hausner does not paint herself into a corner attempting to stay true to the "facts," but the obvious social and historical elements of the story (post-French Revolution and the spreading of those ideas to Germany, the inevitable fall of the Prussian Empire, and the effect of Romanticism in culture and arts of the time) play well off of the scenarios and the metaphysical tribulations of the characters. Hausner's empathy shines through as she delivers a thoughtful character study, ultimately examining the power of the mind and willpower, while at times playing delightful games with the audience, forcing us to question and to quantify how large the difference is between mental illness and true love. Hausner tops the film off with a powerful and understated ending which stays true to the entire aesthetic of the film as a whole. After her past two deliberately paced and highly contained character studies of equal visual propensity with Lourdes (2009) and Amour Fou (2014) every film lover should be on the lookout for Jessica Hausner's next.

Reviewed by Narrow5 / 10

Death and Taxes in Seventeenth Century Prussia

"Would you care to die with me?" It's a question you'd perhaps expect to hear being uttered from one of Hollywood's more overused basement sets, rather than that of a stately German home during dinner. Austrian writer/ director Jessica Hausner's sixth feature is a study of death as an act of love in the midst of a Prussian Empire on the cusp of French-inspired political and social reformation. Set between 1810 and 1811, the film follows a young romantic poet, Heimlich (Christian Friedel),as he seeks out a partner for what he believes is a perfect act of love and the solution to his melancholic woes; a shared death. After his cousin spurns his fatalistic advances, Heimlich turns his attentions to Henriette (Birte Schnoeik),the wife of a business associate and a woman diagnosed with a terminal condition. What transpires is a drawn out courtship, with an underlying will-they-won't- they murder-suicide pact theme.

Far from the dashing romantic image a period poet might evoke, Friedel's Heimlich moves awkwardly through the picture as a skulking, slightly greasy weirdo. He's the Seventeenth Century love child of Max Schrek's Nosferatu and How I Met Your Mother's Ted Mosby, desperately searching for his elusive dream girl. Pursuing his prospective suitors and explaining his desire for this mutual suicide with all the cold, Germanic logic of a Kraftwerk track, "First I will shoot you and then myself". Still in Hausner's depiction of upper-middle class Prussian life, it's perhaps not inconceivable that his offer is met with more of a curious enthusiasm than it is with laughter and a one-way trip to the gallows.

There's a visually cruel symmetry to the set design. The rooms at a glance are large and grand, but their interiors sparse and utilitarian. Carpets, drapes and walls are covered with maddeningly geometric, repetitive patterns and each static shot looks like the kind of uninspired Seventeenth Century painting that one might find adorning a Twentieth Century biscuit tin. The colour palate is oddly muted. The characters move in precise, robotic motions, which seem designed to minimise the energy spent. Indeed, the stately group dance in the third act seems to ironically be the least choreographed in the entire film. It's as if this world, one where the sole form of entertainment is gathering around a piano to listen to a child hammer out macabre songs, would be so repressively dull as to make the offer of a late afternoon fatality a tantalising thought. Indeed, while planning their final moments, Henriette seems to have the sheepish smile of a young woman who's been flaunting her ankles all over Berlin. That's almost all the facial emotion that we see throughout the entire ninety-six minutes.

Ultimately, it's not all that easy to ascertain what Hausner's sterile slice of period drama is trying to convey. It could be that death, like social change is inevitable, so we might as well enjoy it, rather than hide from it in denial. However, it's a little hard to walk away thinking that the past would have been anything but a torturous purgatory, of which death would have been the kindest release. Perhaps mercifully, the viewers' time there is, in cinematic terms, rather brief.

Reviewed by mich_19 / 10

Visually stunning. Great acting.

I saw this film last night, at a festival - on a big screen. It was worth every penny.

It's a story based on a German poet's - Heinrich von Kleist - life. I am not enough familiar with his personal life to know how accurately it depicted it, but as a story, it worked. The interesting twist is that most of the story actually focuses on Henriette, the woman Heinrich pursues with an interesting plan. To commit suicide together.

The movie is not fast paced, it's a lot of dialogue and not very much comic relief (but there is some). So I wouldn't recommend it to people who only watch comedies and action packed films. But if you like human dramas, this may be a movie for you. The story was compelling (even if ridiculous at points, but that was on purpose),the acting was super well done - especially Henriette, her husband Vogel and Heinrich, and the cinematography was beautiful

--some spoilers ahead --

Henriette is a married woman, with a daughter (and the cutest dog),but that doesn't stop depressed Heinrich from calling her out on her loneliness and suggesting to her that they commit suicide together, and thus end their pain. At first, Henriette is very much against this idea. But when she finds out she's suffering from an illness and overhears the doctor tell her husband that her days are numbered - she decides to agree.

Throughout the movie, Heinrich is shown to be in love with a different woman, his cousin Marie, who rejected his suicide plan. And though he finds another partner he claims to love, he still wishes it will be Marie dying by his side. This makes it all so much more painful - since the movie depicts Henriette as the main character, we grow to love her (at least I did. Birte Schnoeink the actress was magnificent). Not only is she going to die, but Heinrich prefers someone else would die with him. It makes her death seem even more unnecessary.

Henriette's husband, who starts out depicted as a plain man without much to offer - a smart man, but not a very emotional one - grows over the course of the 90 minutes and becomes lovable, and shows his caring more and more. It's not that the character changes, so much as he's given a chance to show all his depth and love. Another sympathetic character is their poor daughter, who is never left out of the loop when the doctor is around and is aware of the whole looming death.

The cinematography was done in a masterful fashion. In addition to being beautiful and colorful, the set, the design, the costumes were all very precise. Nothing was out of place, not even an inch. And the photography brought it all together, brought it to life.


This is not a passionate affair movie, with lots of steamy scenes. In fact, there is not even a kiss. It's a subtle film, and it's very much in sync with the era it's depicting - social conventions, propriety...

The death scene was as painful as can be. Such an emotional punch. But not graphic.

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