At its best, film should be like a ski jump. It should give the viewer the option of taking flight, while the act of jumping is left up to him.
Along with Schubert, Romy Schneider, Helmut Berger, Christoph Waltz, and vienna sausage — I refuse to include The Terminator — Michael Haneke is one of Austria’s national treasures.
(Just some trivia: Haneke is somewhat related to Waltz.)
I often recognize a Michael Haneke movie every time I see one. Abrupt transitions. Random shots of mundane things. Static shots. Isabelle Huppert. Susanne Lothar. Juliette Binoche. The names “Anne” and “George” and their variation. Long shots. And no music, because according to him: “usually music is used to hide a film’s problems.”
I like the fact that his films can f*ck with your mind without being too difficult, his films’ simplicity is enough to complicate the audience.
Below are five of my fave Haneke movies, from most to least fave.
Yet another horror movie that is not a horror movie, The Seventh Continent explores the complexity of mere human existence, showing us how keeping up with life’s upkeep can sometimes be a desolate task.
The film has the ability to make us question our own existence. It makes you ask questions like: Why the hell are we here? What’s the point of living through our routine? What’s the purpose of our being?
You know, simple questions that most of us can’t seem to answer in a simple manner.
We only see the facets of the family’s life, so we aren’t given full explanations as to why they did what they did. Haneke’s film simply says, “Sh*t happens.”
Clip shows one of the best scenes ever filmed. An excerpt from the film:
There is just as much evil in all of us as there is good. We’re all continuously guilty, even if we’re not doing it intentionally to be evil. Here we are sitting in luxury hotels, living it up on the the backs of others in the third world. We all have a guilty conscience, but we do very little about it.
Georges Laurent (Daniel Auteuil) was a spoiled brat who terrorized a poor orphaned boy. Now, his past comes back to haunt him.
Languid like a usual Haneke movie, Caché incorporates a CCTV point of view, inviting viewers to stalk the Laurents and scrutinize their seemingly pristine life.
An excerpt from the film:
Sa mga nag-sasabing walang forever (To those who say there’s no forever), they probably haven’t seen this film.
“It’s beautiful… Life. So long.” An excerpt from the film:
In a career-defining performance, Isabelle Huppert is Erika Kohut, a middle age piano teacher who still lives with her mom (Anne Girardot). Erika is seduced by one of her students, Walter (Benoît Magimel). The mutual attraction they share would eventually propel Erika’s obsession on sadomasochistic sex.
For me, this film can qualify as a horror movie. It is creepy because it shows us the horrors of loneliness and repression, making us feel the tragedy of being Erika.
Excerpt from the film:
Funny Games US, 2007
Funny Games US is Haneke’s satirical response to cinema’s exploitation of violence — how cinema makes violence more acceptable than, say, same-sex love. The film mocks our enthusiasm in seeing death in an entertaining manner.
This American version is basically just a frame-by-frame remake of the Austrian original, also by Haneke.
I prefer this version over the original — mainly because the color is clearer, and Naomi Watts is the film’s heroine. (She makes a good horror heroine, in my opinion.)
The remote control scene has been negatively scrutinized by some audiences, especially those who don’t get the film’s sarcasm.
Excerpt from the film:
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