Michael Haneke, 2012
Dark forces have derailed ordinary lives in Michael Haneke’s films before – from sadistic intruders in Funny Games to scheming children in The White Ribbon – but perhaps nothing as insidious as the creeping dementia and death that descends on an elderly Parisian couple in Amour. In those stories there was at least tension and doubt. Here, as we watch Georges tend to the ailing Anne, there is only the crushing certainty of decline, making their fragile stoicism all the more touching. The film won Haneke a second Palme d’Or and an Oscar but some have accused him of coldness – even of exploiting his terrific octogenarian actors. Certainly Amour refuses to over-dramatise dementia and its very clear-headedness is what makes it so devastatingly intimate, powerful and truthful.