Jackie In Cannes: ‘Amour Fou’ – Would You Die For The Love Of Your Life?

By Jackie Brubaker
Jackie is in Cannes this week and will be sending us regular reports.  

In 'Amour Fou,' Austrian director Jessica Hausner tackles the last days of German Romantic writer Heinrich Von Kleist who at age 34, commits a double suicide with married and supposedly terminally ill Henreitte Vogel.

Von Kleist makes an effort of frequenting parties of well-off families where he meets Henriette. Hoping to find a high-society women who can love him so much she might be willing to die for him is his lofty goal. Did I mention he's a romantic? And, perhaps a bit of an opportunist? His unusual request has was off putting to his first love Marie and also seems a little odd to Henriette, but regardless Henriette seems intrigued. Ah, young naive love.

kleist-jahr-bild-540x304Heinrich Von Kleist

Berlin circa 1811, provides a supporting role as a world in flux. Taxes have been levied and the aristocracy finds this "new fad" absurd. I mean, why would farmers ever want to pay taxes and be independent? Crazy!

As interesting as taxes may seem to you let's get back to the whole 'Romeo and Juliet' debacle.

In comes the dramatic truth when Henriette confronts Von Kleist with the terrible news that she has a terminal illness. Yippe! Finally, Von Kleist has found his soul mate! Henriette's 'mysterious' fainting spells from her said 'terminal illness' bond the two together in life and in death. I'm sure it had nothing to do with her being in a bad marriage and wanting to fall in love so hard that she would die to get out of it. Surprisingly, Von Kleist becomes turned off by the news (per quoi?) and feels that her dying is more of a bad consolation prize than true love since she's not choosing to die for him but rather because of her ill health. Men can be so fickle sometimes!

As much of a romantic as I'd like to think of myself I'm also a modern woman and dying for the love of my life seems a little extreme. Especially since it seems as though he's only in love with the idea of love.

Alexanderplatz_1806Berlin in the 1800s

Why is is that sadness and loss seems to make for beautiful love making on screen? I beg to wonder if it's only love because it feels so futile or because loves lost is inexplicably more attractive?

Or, really more addictive. I'd love to see more female based characters in period pieces depicting stronger choices that don't involve falling in love with a man, but rather choosing to fall or not fall in love with a man-- or, herself. Until we start making more films, writing more stories and creating more original period piece content I think we'll continue to see more of the same. While I love a good love story I'd love to see our heroine win more often.