Friday, December 10, 2010
Amer is told in three segments all focusing on different moments in Ana's life, one as a child, one as a teenager and one as an adult. Told almost without dialogue it is about how psychologically affected we can be by our early experiences and the damage that they can cause in later life, but to talk about the story is really missing the point of the film, it is really not about the story so much as the film making technique used to create it, not so much a case of style over substance but more the style is the substance. A huge buzz has formed around Amer due to suggestions that it was the return of the giallo genre, the stylish murder mystery films of the late sixties and seventies the Italians made so well.
It is not a giallo film, however it is so infused with the iconography of the genre that it is easy to see why it looked like a giallo. The film steals all the familiar tropes from the gialli of Argento et al, there are great uses of colour gels which bring Mario Bava to mind. Brian De Palma is also referenced and even Sergio Leone is in there, with some incredibly dramatic close ups of eyes he would have been proud of. Camera angles and editing are used to great effect and the soundtrack is completely made up of cues lifted from giallo films and this all reinforces the mood and tone of the film, one Ennio Morricone piece I was unfamiliar with was a particular highlight for me. The sound design is fantastic, with every sound heightened whether it be leather glove creasing or someone flicking a comb , it sounds great and adds unease to almost every scene.
Amer will not be enjoyed by everyone as it is an art film more than the genre piece many were expecting, some may find the style irritating, maybe the story slight and confusing but if you have any interest in seeing the film track it down, it is intelligent, unconventional, visceral, very sensual and ultimately very satisfying.