19 November 2012 7:08 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Michael Haneke's bleak portrayal of an elderly couple's last days will strip filmgoers of the delusion that love can conquer all

Love has been the lifeblood of cinema, yet its portrayal on the big screen has been narrowly focused. Scroll through the 6,609 titles keyworded "love" on IMDb and you'll notice that most of the films rely on a rather particular notion of what love might be.

They tend to deal with the phenomenon dubbed "limerence" by psychologist Dorothy Tennov. This has been described as "an involuntary interpersonal state that involves an acute longing for emotional reciprocation, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, feelings and behaviours and emotional dependence on another person". The condition arises when the hypothalamus prompts the pituitary gland to release a cocktail of dopamine, norepinephrine, phenylethylamine, oestrogen and testosterone. Unless requited, it usually fades away quite quickly. Only 5% of the population are reckoned to be afflicted at any one time, »

- David Cox

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