Child’s Pose, Romanian Cãlin Peter Netzer’s 2013 searing exploration of maternal love, is one of my favourite films. Ana, Mon Amour treads similar ground but, in its more epic, complex and ambitious scope, ultimately fails to engage.
Ana (Diana Cavallioti) and Toma (Mircea Postelnicu) fall in love as literature students while discussing Nietzsche. Ana is fragile and prone to panic attacks that increasingly keep her isolated from everyone except Toma. His parents disapprove of her and she has a tempestuous relationship with her mother and stepfather.
Over the trajectory of their relationship, we see each one evolve and the difficulties this causes, particularly for Toma whose role as saviour is eventually undermined. It reminded me of the quote, “Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”
Told from the point of view of Toma as he undergoes psychoanalysis as an older man, the narrative flits convulsively between time periods. It is an interesting device that allows experiences from their past to be juxtaposed and therefore compared with subsequent developments. We are kept somewhat oriented by the changes in Toma’s receding hairline but it creates a fragmentation that makes it difficult to engage with the characters.
Like in Child’s Pose, the role of controlling parents is mildly explored, along with the usefulness of religion and psychoanalysis to help resolve emotional damage. Overall, the film felt too long and meandering, too complex in structure and disappointingly obvious in its final lines.
Have you seen this film? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.