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Religions 2016, 7(12), 140; doi:10.3390/rel7120140

Losing Touch: A Theology of Death for Michael Haneke’s Amour

Department of Philosophy, Trinity International University, 2065 Half Day Road, Village of Bannockburn, Deerfield, IL 60015, USA
Academic Editor: Joseph Kickasola
Received: 26 July 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 November 2016 / Published: 30 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Film and Lived Theology)
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Abstract

This proposed theology of death for Michael Haneke’s Amour, a fraught but poignant piece of cinema, will employ Martin Heidegger’s existentialism to reframe the ethical structure of the film and apply a “lived theology” rejoinder to its perceived hopelessness. The proposal will address the question of ethics in relation to Haneke’s cinema, in particular his seemingly nihilistic perspective and confrontational style. To do so, it will revisit the film itself and examine the ways that Georges and Anne’s love is tested. Principally, we examine the film’s great question, which—in the filmmaker’s own words—is: “How do I cope with the suffering of a loved one?” With aid from the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, this ‘lived theology’ proposal will attempt to give an account of love’s irrepressible strength in the midst of even astounding suffering. While Heidegger’s ethic of resoluteness calls for interiority and solitude, Bonhoeffer’s account of death more satisfactorily invokes a transcendent summons contained within our own pledges to loved ones. Such a theological reading of Haneke’s Amour will draw two distinct conclusions: first, the film exposes the superficiality of any hoped-for solitude or escape from a loved one’s death, and secondly, it demonstrates that the mutuality of authentic love entails impossible sacrifices. View Full-Text
Keywords: Michael Haneke; Martin Heidegger; Dietrich Bonhoeffer; cinema; death; love; existentialism Michael Haneke; Martin Heidegger; Dietrich Bonhoeffer; cinema; death; love; existentialism
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Worley, T. Losing Touch: A Theology of Death for Michael Haneke’s Amour. Religions 2016, 7, 140.

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