• Sphere Recommends

    • ‘Amer’ is a psychoanalytic mirror that alludes to a maternal bosom, extended as if it were an oceanic realm.

    Review: ‘Amer’ (2009), a hallucinatory film with high colour saturation / 

    A film that does not accept its own time and instead delves into the past seeking a safe anchor to stabilise its imaginary explorations, has a new and outstanding exponent. The most sophisticated film Dario Argento ever made was Suspiria (1977), which was inspired by Walt Disney’s version of Snow White, and especially by his use of colour. While it shares certain aspects with the animated film, for example a gothic tale about witches and virginity, it does not constitute a giallo but it directly borrows many of its techniques.

    Amer (2009) seems to have been made by Argento in 1977 while he was filming Suspiria but it was actually directed by a couple (both professionally and sentimentally involved): Bruno Forzani and Hélene Cattet. Its wonderful soundtrack and stylised images are worthy of a dreamy fantasy with high colour saturation. It has three main parts:

    The first, owes Jan Svankmayer and his Alice (1988) a great deal. It represents a disquieting feminine childhood; breaking free of any kind of attachment to reality we jump through direct cuts from perception to perception, creating rooms in our mental mansion full of objects granted with value through the associations we create. Mirrors of what we see through our eyes on the screen. 

    The second represents adolescence, this stage returns to the same location but with a greater relation to the outside world. Feminine sensuality now lies on the epidermis; it has awoken from its slumber. The maternal figure is still present, instigating. But now the masculine elements are off balance freeing her in a dangerous way.

    In the third part we return to the inside of the mansion, finding again the uncovered elements of her childhood. For now the male presence seems too close, a murderer on the loose with a knife in his hand. A trail of sensuality following the violence of testosterone, a deathly aroma fills the blue coloured night air. The child is now a woman and each shadow, shape and texture brings a heavy feeling along with it.

    Amer is a psychoanalytical mirror that alludes to a maternal bosom, extended as if it were an oceanic realm. The paternal presence is embodied as a haunting threat that wanders a nightmarish mansion. The film is made of formidable and wonderfully executed phrases, with a perfectly defined retro style. It reveals spectral spaces within a genre that it does not follow entirely, but is used to trick the film itself into finding new ways of expressing. An ambiguous scenario for the female sexual awakening, the source of a macro-insert waterfall, plans with extremely detailed extreme sensations supported and encouraged by the design of coloured light. 

    Tagged: cinema, Sphere Recommends, Amer, film