Directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani and released theatrically in its home country of France in 2010.
The following review does contain spoilers.
Rarely will a film come along in this modern age – the 21st century is an age far removed from the 1800s when this medium itself was invented – that truly embraces all aspects of what is possible in the process of making a film. The only true examples of this, in my mind, would be David Lynch’s Eraserhead, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Gaspar Noé’s Enter The Void, Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio and this – Amer. A French/Belgian co-production which is about 98% close-up and about 2% dialogue.
Just like Berberian Sound Studio, Amer pays homage to the Giallo films of the ’60s and ’70s by masters such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento and while I’ve only seen a small handful of films from the genre I’ve no question in my mind that anyone who is a fan of that genre will adore this. The film plays out in three acts: childhood; adolescence; adulthood. Almost the entire film is shot in close-up which makes for compelling viewing and makes you really focus on intricate details especially whenever there’s a medium or a long shot. The way that the directors focus on sounds and senses is astonishing to me as I’ve never seen anything like it. Every aspect of the films production is just sublime – the sound design, the vibrant colour created by the lighting effects and the exquisite cinematography which is a true marvel of modern cinema.
Some of the story may jolt around quite a bit but it’s my humble opinion that the majority of what one would assert is the story of this film is merely just a figment of our main character’s imagination. It’s not hard to tell this, surely, one example being in the first act when the young girl is awoken by a doctor from a nightmare which we presume to be real – in terms of those classic films that influenced this.
All in all, Amer is a beautifully shot horror film that plays with your mind more than any other horror film from the last five or ten years – except of course Berberian Sound Studio which I know I’ve mentioned quite a few times in this review, but it really does stand out for me as a great companion piece to go with this.