Oscar winning ‘Amour’ is occasion for end of life discussion

Oscar winning ‘Amour’ is occasion for end of life discussion

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Panelists after the film included (from left) Richard Paradise of Martha's Vineyard Film Society; Terre Young, executive director of Hospice of Martha's Vineyard; bereavement counselor Susan Desmaris; and nurse Betsy Marshall.

Amour, a drama centered on human and relationship fragility in the lives of an elderly French couple, won the Best Foreign Language film at the 85th Oscars on February 24. The film was nominated for four other awards, including Best Actress for leading lady Emmanuelle Riva, and Best Original Screenplay.

Martha’s Vineyard Film Society’s Richard Paradise screened the film at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center and convened a discussion afterwards, led by representatives of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, of the issues that arise as lives and loving relationships ripen.

The review site Rotten Tomatoes describes Amour, written and directed by Michael Haneke, as the story of Georges and Anne, a couple in their eighties. Cultivated, retired music teachers whose daughter, also a musician, lives abroad with her family, their lifelong love is tested, when Anne becomes ill and rejects hospitals and hospice. Georges becomes her devoted, despairing, hopeful, sometimes impatient hospice caregiver.

Discussion after the film included Mr. Paradise; Terre Young, executive director of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard; bereavement counselor Susan Desmaris; and nurse Betsy Marshall.

Ms. Young described a “wonderful discussion,” in which many members of the audience, some old enough to envision such difficult moments lying ahead in their own lives, looked for insight into the difference between the care Georges struggled to give Anne and the way hospice might have furnished better support. They wanted to understand the difficulty that Georges faced.