Haneke unplugged – consistent themes, early, bare-bones exploration.
The dark mood is set in the first scene: the vandalizing of cars. At once a deeply anti-bourgeois impulse and an act that expresses the faceless anomie of the post-war generation, this film is a melodramatic exploration of teenage resistance to overbearing parents and the constricting influence of a too-small Austrian town. Haneke upends Arcadia (youthful innocence) by transgressing boundaries such as sex out of marriage; smoking; and adultery with an adult. His teens damage cars and otherwise passive-aggressively act against parents. Haneke then subverts the bourgeois fiction of happiness and security by suggesting that in the end our own self-absorption and lack of empathy will relegate our relationships to hostile acts. We can never know each other, and that ultimately we cannot care. As the character of Sigrid’s experience suggests, forget friends and family – ultimately we are cast out alone. The film is a bare bones exploration (a la Bergman) of the themes he will explore in more understated fashion in later work and more sensationally in Funny Games and Benny’s video. Continue reading
Michael Haneke’s masterful first film The Seventh Continent/Der Siebente Kontinent introduced concerns basic to the director’s art, principal among them the notion that the “death of affect”, a key fixation of postmodernity, should not be a subject of cynical concelebration (as it seems to be for many artists of the moment). Rather, Haneke views the end of affect, which is to say the acceptance of alienation as an inevitable and rather “hip” state of being, as a profound sickness that serious art no longer interrogates, the standard postmodern view being that its study is a naïve and dated preoccupation. As a consequence, Haneke is often associated with cinema’s great modernists, with Antonioni frequently cited as the kinsman of closest sensibility. The association seems reasonable, with the provision that Haneke “updates” Antonioni’s project, applying to the current world a vision appropriate to late capitalist, media-saturated culture, and that evokes early modernism, with its concern for some sense of continuity between classicism and modernity. From Antonioni, Haneke derives elements of his vision of the modern urban setting. People spend endless, wordless, wasted moments in car washes and supermarkets, and work in buildings composed of machine-packed substructures recalling Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1926) as well as Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964), while vast, low-ceilinged office spaces of endless, uniformly spaced desks, suggest Welles’ vision of The Trial (1961) as much as L’eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1963).
Made for Austrian television in 1997 – the same year that he would make his feature Funny Games – Michael Haneke’s adaptation of Franz Kafka’s ‘Das Schloss’ sees the director working with adapted material that chimes entirely with a personal worldview we have come to know from films like The Seventh Continent, Code Unknown and Hidden (Caché), depicting individuals buckling under the increasingly cold and uncaring mechanical progress of modern society. Using many of the same actors who feature in Funny Games, it presents an intriguing parallel to the director’s breakthrough feature film. Continue reading
This is Michael Haneke’s first feature film, made for Österreichischer Rundfunk and Südwestfunk and broadcast in 1976. Like many of his later films for television and for the screen, it is an adaptation of a literary work; but viewers will probably notice moments in it that strangely anticipate later films — from The Seventh Continent and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance, to Code Inconnu and Caché. The film, which is 97 minutes long, is based on a novella by the Austrian author Ingeborg Bachmann, published in 1972, a year before her death following a fire in her Rome apartment.
Described as an answer to Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun, Fraulein tells the story of a German woman and a former French prisoner of war living in 1950s Germany. Instead of playing a role in rebuilding her country, Haneke’s heroine remains preoccupied with her personal affairs. Shot predominantly in black and white (with a color sequence added toward the end), Fraulein asserts Haneke’s place alongside the masters of the New German Cinema. Continue reading
an imdb commentary :
Nacktschnecken (translated “slugs” ) is an Austrian low-budget comedy with quite a fine plot: Three young pals plan to earn money by shooting an hardcore-porno movie. But is it really so easy to shoot some gang-banging with home-video equipment?
What sounds like some stupid german 70s sex-movie is in fact a very entertaining comedy, both clever and sensitive. So if you like new Austrian cinema like “Hundstage” (which is – of course – much more serious) – you should not miss this one.
The flic was shot in Styria, so much of it´s charm depends on various local accents (like a Viennese pimp, a girl from Graz´s upper class, rural-styrian working class heroes e.a.). So this movie is not really easy to translate. Continue reading
Two young characters in this story of rebellious youth are named after two Germans, brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl who were imprisoned and executed for their anti-Nazi stance during World War II. In this film, the rebels do not have such a clear-cut enemy but nevertheless, they cannot accept the way life is heading in Austria of the 1950s and they revolt by stealing, mugging, and trying out terrorist methods (bombs). Their future seems to be inexorably heading on a collision course with the forces that have “locked them out.” Continue reading