maandag 8 augustus 2011

Amer (2009)

I've been reading mixed responses, it seemed to be a true hate/love-type of film. And I'll confirm that. There are a lot of aspects which might feel to..arty-farty(?) and pretentious. Though I couldn't care less. Some might actually feel frustrated by it's unusual approach. It's stylish, slow, silent... but most of all it's visually stunning. Is it a true giallo revival, or is it just a small part of a visual masterpiece?

We follow Ana in three different periods of her life. We see her grow from a small child, to a teenager and we end up with a mature Ana. It's an unusual structure offering different vibes each time while always sticking to an extremely unordinary stylish look. It's one of the best examples I could give for a true style-over-substance type of film. There's really no substance at all, at least not notice worthy. It's a visual story.

I was blown away, to be honest. I was told it's some sort of a giallo revival, but I'm not sure if that's the right way to approach this film. I don't know thát much about giallo, but it's sure not something you would come across in the traditional sense of the genre. It's a giant mixture of classic and modern. Argento's influences are obvious, as the first part shows us with great succes. The beautiful blue/green/red/purple..etc lighting is stunning and the zoomshots + detailed view of her house and the unknown threat that haunts her turns the entire first part into one of the most intense experiences I've had in a long time. Much like Argento, it's a point A to point B storyline but the entire structure knows little to no logic.
It's tough to find a modern resemblence. Though Grandrieux (Sombre, La Vie Nouvelle) often came to my mind. Just like his films, this is relatively silent with a lot of enviromental sounds to fill the emptyness. It's a disturbing vibe, almost like a nightmare (or dream). So there are similarities though they are not ment to be compared any further than that. But maybe it's time to discuss the film itself, and not the (maybe not even significant) influences. After all...this is a one-of-a-kind experience.

The soundtrack is briliant. There are only 6 real 'tracks', all taken from classic Italian cinema. I was blown away when I first heard the theme from La Polizia Chiede Aiuto composed by Stelvio Cipriani. It fits the film perfectly and thankfully it's never overused. Again, this film is mostly filled with sounds created in the enviroment. Footsteps, heavy breathing, or just a simple breeze. They even used pigeon sounds in one scene (somewhere in the first part) to build up the suspense and near the end it's stuff like a comb to fill the emptyness. It's smart use of ordinary objects to create an unusual and rather weird vibe.

There's absolutely nothing I could ever dislike about Helene Cattet's and Bruno Forzani's first masterpiece. It's spot on when it comes to creating something out of the ordinary. It's risky, and definitely not something I'd recommend to everyone. The giallo element isn't really significant untill the end. It's pretty brutal and kept awesomely traditional. Not only the ending, but different classic elements can be found throughout the entire film. Plenty of zoomshots and crazy montages, it's something you'd come across when watching Argento or Fulci, but that list might just go on and on.
There are small things to discover everywhere. Each shots captures something new. There's no real repetition or at least not in a bad way since they all seem to have a purpose. It might be a little harder to explain exactly what to like about this film than your regular giallo or whatever, but it sure is a lot of fun to go through all the different aspects this film covers. Probably one of the best posters ever, one of the best debute films ever and definitely one of the best looking films ever.

Score: 98/100

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