It is clear enough after his 'family & violence trilogy' (Das Siebente Kontinent, Benny's Video en 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls) that Michael Haneke can make powerful films and does not shy away from gloomy subjects. Yet his recent film Funny Games was like a bomb dropping on Cannes in 1997. Thousands of journalists spread descriptions that evoked a picture of a moving sculpture of remorselessness, an icy pinnacle of violence inspired by the media. Several critics did not trust the quality of Haneke's portrayal. They reasoned that only a pathological, perverse type was able to put such a lusty form of violence on the screen so perfectly. They ignored Haneke's moral motives. They did not see an inspired Don Quichote who was attacking the electronic windmills of the world, but a devil's advocate who enjoyed his double role. To my mind, Haneke's command of the portrayal of violence is more a proof of the contrary. Only someone who is really concerned about the role of violence in the entertainment industry could depict pain and suffering so intensely. Haneke's provocative portrayal of murder and death evokes the now classic pictures by another great moralist: the Krzystof Kieslowski of Thou Shalt not Kill. Kieslowski showed that death in film does not always have to be quick and painless, but that it can be just as slow, gruesome and clumsy as in reality. Haneke is in no way inferior. (GjZ)

Filmmaker
Michael Haneke
Premiere
-
Country
Austria
Year
1997
Medium
35mm
Length
103’
Language
German
Producer
Wega-Filmproduktionsgesellschaft, Veit Heiduschka
Sales
Christa Saredi, Cinemien
Writer
Michael Haneke
Editor
Andreas Prochaska
Cast
Frank Giering, Arno Frisch, Frank Giering, Arno Frisch