Director Michael Haneke based his new drama Amour on a dying relative who asked him to help her commit suicide.
The movie, which won the top prize at France's 2012 Cannes Film Festival, the Palme d'Or, follows the plight of an elderly man who is forced to take care of his dying wife after she suffers a stroke.
The project was named Best Picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Sunday (09Dec12), and now Haneke reveals Amour was inspired by his late 92-year-old aunt, who begged to be put out of her misery following a long battle with joint disorder rheumatism.
The filmmaker tells New York Magazine, "(I told her) 'I am your legal heir, and I'd go to jail. Also, it would be impossible for me."
The relative then tried to kill herself, but the Austrian director found her in time and rushed her to the hospital. He wasn't a popular nephew when she learned he'd saved her: "(She said) 'Why have you done this to me?'"
Two years later his beloved family member successfully took her own life and Haneke admits the movie is his tribute to her.