PRINT March 2015


Jessica Hausner’s Amour fou

Jessica Hausner, Amour fou, 2014, digital video, color, sound, 96 minutes. Henriette Vogel (Birte Schnöink) and Heinrich von Kleist (Christian Friedel).

The tide buries us all in the end.

—a Maltese guard, in Jessica Hausner’s Lourdes (2009)

ALLES IN ORDNUNG, the German phrase for “everything’s okay,” implies that all is in order—tidy and organized, in its proper Teutonic place. The young female protagonists of Jessica Hausner’s cinema attempt to impose such order on their surroundings, even as murder, mishap, and malady disrupt the strictly regulated Ordnung of their respective settings: a suburban Viennese home ruled by punitive parents (Lovely Rita [2001]); an alpine inn managed by unsmiling task-masters (Hotel [2004]); a pilgrims’ lodge overseen by a stringent nurse (Lourdes); and a pre-Biedermeier household governed by a tax functionary (Amour fou). The eponym of the Austrian auteur’s first feature—a rebel called Rita, whose only cause is her own restlessness—responds to the freedom she has won after slaying

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