‘Amer’ arrests the attention from the word go, with some imposing imagery of little girl Ana’s (Cassandra Forêt) place within a frightening house and amongst even more creepy relatives.
It is easy to see the similarities between this and Directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s later ‘The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears’: they are clearly in love with the visuals and there is very little dialogue. Whilst the first of the three ‘chapters’ is genuinely morbid and creepy – and my personal favourite segment – the second, in which Ana (Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud) encounters adolescence (she could be anything from 14 to 20 years old) focuses on her leap, or slither, from little girl to the object of desire. There are many suggestive shots of various body parts and awkward closeness with others. It doesn’t really mean much. In fact, it doesn’t mean anything at all, other than it is part of Ana’s ‘journey’.
So then, the third act. Ana is now played by Marie Bos. Suggestion of much light masturbation. Stunning scenery. And a slight return to the intimidating feel of the first segment, with her seemingly returning to her abandoned family home. Despite apparent chance meetings, Ana is very much alone. These moments of her retracing the steps of her childhood remind me of the less than comforting homecoming of Pip, all grown up, returning to Miss Haversham’s ruined building after his adventures. Here, the house is baked in sunlight, and any adventures Ana has had are so obscurely filmed and her character so thinly drawn, we can only appreciate the beautifully shot décor, the unmade beds, the flaking wallpaper, the stunning scenery and the ghostly, discarded porcelain dolls. But the sense of unease comes to the fore once again – whatever the shortcomings of the arthouse style this film embraces, the protracted ending is a heady mix of the sinister and sensual. There is an antagonist, but we are not even sure if he is real. Does he represent the dark memories that haunt her? One thing is for certain – nothing is certain, especially Ana’s eventual fate.