Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ambiguity in Amour

Last time on Clef Notes we defined diegetic and non-diegetic music in film. While it may seem apparent whether or not something is diegetic, or what the musical “source” may be, often times, film directors leave this area ambiguous, allowing the viewer to make their own interpretations. Today, let’s look at one example of an ambiguous source in Michael Haneke’s 2012 film Amour.



Georges and Anne are retired music teachers who are enjoying life together. When Anne has a stroke, Georges jumps in to care for her. The film follows their trials and love for one another. In the scene above, Anne plays Schubert’s Impromptu, Op. 90 #3 at the piano—or does she? We believe the piano is the source of the music we hear, however the scene then shifts to Georges turning off a radio, stopping the music suddenly. Was the radio, then, the source of the Impromptu? Was Georges reflecting back to memories of his wife playing the piano as he listened to the piece on the radio?

What do you think?


Next time, we’ll look at another example of diegetic ambiguity found in Preston Sturges’ 1948 Unfaithfully Yours

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