Amour, a film about love and aging, took the top prize at Cannes

When Amour picked up the Palm D’Or at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, Australian director Michael Haneke – whose previous film 2009’s The White Ribbon took home the prize that year – may have been just a little surprised.

The word around the festival was that he wouldn’t pick it up again with having already won so recently for his last film, and with having Italian director Nanni Moretti who hated his 1997 film Funny Games, on the jury.

The fact that the film received a rare standing ovation when the announcement was made that it won shows just how wrong the rumors were. A great film is a great film, after all, and the remaining jury members (Alexander Payne, Raoul Peck, Andrea Arnold, Hiam Abbass, Diane Kruger, Ewan McGregor, Emmanuelle Devos, and Jean Paul Gautier) made for a reliable judging team.

Amour looks at octogenarians Georges and Anne, retired music teachers whose enduring love is put to the test when Anne suffers a stroke and one side of her body is left paralyzed.

Truly well done, dynamic films about aging are a rare find in cinema, where the target audience often remains a younger demographic. Here are a few more critically acclaimed films from over the years that have addressed the subject of aging with grace, dignity and charm.

Away From Her

Sarah Polley’s 2006 film is the heart-wrenching story of a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s, and her husband of 45 years, who has to come to terms with losing her to the disease when she decides she needs the help of a nursing home.

Harold and Maude

Hal Ashby’s 1971 film about a young man obsessed with death, who falls in love with a 79-year-old woman, remains a cult classic to this day.

The Barbarian Invasions

Denys Arcand’s 1986 film The Decline of the American Empire is revisited in this sequel that updates the characters’ stories, as Remy is now dying of cancer. Taken by his son to the United States for treatment, the film explores the relationships that have sustained him over the years and in his dying days.

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The Straight Story

A rare step outside the absurd for director David Lynch, 1999’s The Straight Story follows 73- year-old Alvin Straight as he drives his lawnmower on a 240 mile journey to repair the relationship with his estranged brother, who recently suffered a stroke.

The Godfather

This beloved classic about an aging gangster preparing his son to take over the family business needs no introduction.

Driving Miss Daisy

When a senior Jewish woman in the South loses her license, her son hires an African American chauffeur to drive her around (to her dismay). The film deals beautifully with both issues of aging and race, and how it’s never too late to get over archaic biases.

On Golden Pond

Retired couple Norman and Ethel return to the cottage they have visited every summer since early in their marriage, this time joined by their daughter Chelsea whom they haven’t seen in years. Starring real life father and daughter Henry and Jane Fonda, the film won Henry his only Oscar.

 

 What are some of your favorite films on the subject of aging? Tell us in the comments!

Sources: New York Times

Photo ©Yves Herman/Reuters

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