Director: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Starring: Cassandra Foret, Charlotte Eugene Guibeaud, Marie Bos, Bianca Maria D’Amato, Harry Cleven
Amer is about the life of Ana. We see her as a young kid, as a teenager and as an adult woman going back to her childhood home again.
That’s basically the plot. Amer is wrongfully promoted as a giallo tribute with an absolutely awesome old school poster. Amer is however not a giallo, but rather a stylish art movie. The life of Ana is separated into three acts with little explanation of what is going on in each of them.
In the first act we see Ana as a young kid in a fantastic colorful home where she is fascinated by a corpse of a family member. The visuals here are absolutely fantastic. You don’t really need drugs when you have movies such as this. We experience everything from a childs aspect where everything is big, frightening and scary. It’s my favorite segment of the movie and everything from the sounds to the visuals is breathtaking. It had some stuff that was probably a reference to Mario Bava’s excellent A Drop of Water segment from Black Sabbath.
In the second act we see Ana as a young teenager walking to a local store with her mother. This segment doesn’t go for anything scary and is more about the sexuality or sensuality that the young girl experiences growing up. Since there is practically no dialogue here, the story is told by the visuals and very subtle movements by the actors. It’s a bizarre segment filled with metaphors and it works, although it gets a little tiresome before it ends. In contrast to the first segment, this one isn’t so dark and claustrophobic.
The third segment follows Ana on her way to her childhood home. The travel is filled with sexual tension, but once she enters her home the movie gives us the most violent and gialloish parts of the film. It’s perhaps the most imaginary segment where you can’t be sure of what’s happening or what’s going to happen at all. It leaves the ending quite open for interpretation on what really happened.
Amer is very demanding and I felt very tired at the end of the second segment. Even though I can’t categorize it neither giallo or horror per se, it’s easy to see the influences of the old giallo’s. If you pay attention to the soundtrack you will recognize a scores taken directly from older giallo movies aswell. It’s filled with metaphors and symbolism, some you might catch while others will go over your head at first viewing.
The film is a work of passion by the couple Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani. Hopefully they won’t split up in the future and I hope they get the chance and have the urge to make a more traditional giallo or horror movie. If they do, then they might just become the next big thing in this genre.
Amer is a fantastic and colorful giallo homage without being a giallo movie that stands on its own. It demands a lot from the viewer, but if you are able to stick with it you should be able to enjoy the film. I also think it’s a movie that will get even better on repeated viewings.