- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
- Tea Party Patriots call key GOP firing a declaration of war
‘Amour’ vs. ‘Quartet’: Hollywood and the creeping mainstreaming of euthanasia
Question of the Day
It’s hardly a secret that Hollywood has little use for old people doddering around on the large screen.
But, you might wonder, isn’t promoting euthanasia for the elderly a bit extreme, even for a morally relativistic, youth-obsessed movie industry?
You had to ask.
The troubling answer is that sharply divergent receptions for two current movies with starkly different takes on the final years of life — “Amour” and “Quartet” — would seem to suggest the movie establishment is indeed putting its cultural muscle behind a bid to mainstream the practice of euthanasia for the chronically ill elderly.
“Amour,” the latest toxic emission in a career filled with stark and dreary films by writer-director Michael Haneke, inflicts on audiences perhaps the most harrowing example of drawn-out death ever depicted in cinema as it shows an elderly man slowly driven mad by having to care for his incredibly frail wife alone.
In sharp contrast, “Quartet” — the directorial debut of the legendary actor Dustin Hoffman — follows the romantic foibles and physical travails of elderly British musicians who are vibrant and full of life as they prepare for a fundraising concert to save their home for retired musicians.
The Hollywood establishment, through its proxy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, recently honored the French-language “Amour” with exceedingly rare double nominations for both best picture and best foreign film Oscars this year. Previously, “Amour” was crowned with international cinema’s most prestigious festival award, the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or.
Among the broad spectrum of critics who weigh in at film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, opinions are a bit more evenly matched, with “Amour” drawing a lusciously ripe 91 percent approval rating and “Quartet” pulling a still-juicy 80 percent. Still, one senses that the critical establishment is eager to confer instant-classic status on “Amour,” while treating “Quartet” as an agreeable little trifle.
Don’t be deceived — “Amour” is about much more than a deep and enduring love under stress. Yes, the film does sensitively depict the depth and security of a strong marital bond, as the devoted husband is shown feeding, bathing, exercising and telling stories to his wife in a daily grind for what appears to last months if not years. But that relationship ends with a shocking act that clearly advocates euthanasia.
One might write off this act as the isolated choice of a unique, unrepresentative screen couple whose story Mr. Haneke just happens to be telling on-screen. And about whom he just happened to choose to write his single-credited fiction screenplay.
But it would be a mistake to interpret Mr. Haneke’s meaning in “Amour” without consideration of Mr. Haneke himself, a man who has consistently been described as a kind of cinematic sadist for a career typified by films that depict the worst aspects of human nature. The German filmmaker’s body of work is crowded with people inflicting psychological or even physical torture upon others, particularly in the repellent “Funny Games,” which he made twice — first in German, and then in a shot-by-shot remake in English a decade later.
In the full context of Mr. Haneke’s oeuvre, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that “Amour” is not just a film, but propaganda for euthanasia as an acceptable option for culling out people who have become too big a drain on others.
Mr. Haneke isn’t taking the subject lightly, by any means. But the fact that he stacks the deck so extremely — with the wife suffering an unbearable string of maladies and the husband acceding to her unreasonable demand that he never take her to a hospital — manipulates the audience into feeling that there was indeed no other way out but ending her life. At a time when the elderly population is ever-increasing and living far longer than in the past, this sets an especially pernicious precedent.
Now that “Amour” has been released to such ecstatic worldwide acclaim, it could open the floodgates for a stream of new films and TV shows to depict euthanasia as a noble way out, as, indeed, an ultimate act of love. With cinema’s long history of driving changes in social attitudes, this could have the effect of normalizing euthanasia as an acceptable option for the chronically ill elderly. It’s hard to understand the liberal establishment’s cheerleading for this well-acted but painfully slow-moving and, frankly, boring work as anything other than a tool of cultural engineering.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- N. Korean news agency: Kim Jong Un's uncle executed
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- White House improvises again on patchy Obamacare rollout
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow