I saw Amer as part of Melbourne's Hello Darkness film festival, I have written two other entries, this is my belated third.
Amer is a visual tour de force that gives new meaning to the term eye candy.
Its imagery is established in the opening credits as its neck breaking pace follows the three stages of Ana's (Marie Bos) life and her distorted, ultra-sensitive perception. There is an extremity in compulsive detail visually and aurally in every scene.
The first sequence of Amer is Ana as an adolescent as she catches glimpses of closing doors, and partial conversations from what can be assumed her parents as she ascends the grand staircase in her house to lock herself in her room; hiding from the corpse downstairs and her creepy grandmother who is assumedly into witchcraft as the first sequence plays out like an adult fairy-tale.
The tension is palpable as the grandmother begins to infiltrate her bedroom using other worldly means, in what is a sudden overload of primary colours that drench the screen; it is the same kind of horror that is exhibited from being in sudden darkness, equally disturbing and strange. What Ana perceives and what is the reality is never explained and her seemingly traumatic childhood draws to a close as she transitions from young and innocent to slightly older and more sexually driven in what is the second sequence.
There is no consistent narrative. Time is distorted and all meaning of it is absent in Amer; the film functions as an experiment as most notions of traditional film making are rejected.The microcosm of details continue, suddenly Ana is on the street; everything is perceived as threatening through her eyes but the reality is much tamer. The mundane is viewed as something else entirely. The 'threat' she faces with her mother is a motorbike gang. An elongated period of time is spent analysing this encounter, nothing is said, just severe glances are exchanged and every bodily function of Ana is scrutinized.
In no time at all, Ana is a woman. The camera pans in on naked flesh, Ana can be heard moaning, breathing very heavily and then the full picture is revealed. She is simply jammed between men on a bus. Such an innocent, common scenario is given immediate danger and extreme sexual tension. The atmosphere is incredibly thick; she leaves the bus and enters another car and a scrupulous man chauffers her. Sexual tension is abundant; close up views of her fully clothed body display her arousal, it is dizzying and exciting,clearly she is fantasizing. Her imagination drives her over a cliff, the car plummeting as the camera pans to a side view. Her perversion of death reaches orgasmic heights.Finally she arrives full circle to her ominous abandoned mansion first witnessed when she was a child. The verdant force of nature surrounds it; vines and overgrown shrubbery act as an antagonistic force but also represent the primal, out-of-control nature of her life.
A great 70's score pervades most key scenes; clearly the film is homage to the Italian director Giallo, and even channelling the chaos of Bunuel's Un Chien Andalou. Amer could be construed as pure art, a canvas painting the picture of a disturbed sociopath. This assumption becomes clear in the final sequence when she returns to the house, her stimulation and arousal at its peak. Every gust of wind or snag on a branch elicits a sexual assault as the film climaxes in a confusing, disturbing ecstasy of violent mutilation which is bizarrely sexually charged as an unseen force oppresses and brutally maims her in a quick, precise and detailed manner.
Amer is simply must watch cinema. It is an incredible journey left to wild interpretation that will leave an indelible mark on all who view it.