Tag Archives: Michael Haneke

Michael Haneke – Così fan tutte (2013)

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Who loves whom in Così fan tutte, Mozart’s and Da Ponte’s cruelly comic reflection on desire, fidelity and betrayal? Or have the confusions to which the main characters subject one another ensured that in spite of the heartfelt love duets and superficially fleetfooted comedy nothing will work any longer and that a sense of emotional erosion has replaced true feelings? Così fan tutte is a timeless work full of questions that affect us all. The Academy Award-winning director Michael Haneke once said that he was merely being precise and did not want to distort reality. Read More »

Michael Haneke – Amour (2012)

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Cinema feeds on stories of love and death, but how often do filmmakers really offer new or challenging perspectives on either? Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ is devastatingly original and unflinching in the way it examines the effect of love on death, and vice versa. It’s a staggering, intensely moving look at old age and life’s end, which at its heart offers two performances of incredible skill and wisdom from French veteran actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva.

The Austrian director of ‘Hidden’ and ‘The White Ribbon’ offers an intimate, brave and devastating portrait of an elderly Parisian couple, Anne (Riva) and Georges (Trintignant), facing up to a sudden turn in their lives. Haneke erects four walls to keep out the rest of the world, containing his drama almost entirely within one apartment over some weeks and months. The only place we see this couple outside their flat, right at the start, is at the theatre, framed from the stage. Haneke reverses the perspective for the rest of the film. The couple’s flat becomes a theatre for their stories: past, present and future. Read More »

Michael Haneke – La pianiste AKA The Piano Teacher (2001)

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Michael Haneke’s latest torture mechanism is less funny game than daunting debasement ritual. Isabelle Huppert stars as Erika Kohut, an icy piano teacher who goes masochistic when handsome young Walter Klemmer (Benoit Magimel) wants to play with her cold ivory. Huppert responds to Haneke with such straight-faced precision that you might just buy into the director’s seemingly shallow provocations. Spousal punishment in Bergman’s Cries & Whispers came in the form of self-mutilation. Haneke, though, has Huppert paint a more squeamish picture of self-love that also contemplates the possibility of pleasure in pain. The director has an uncanny ability to force the spectator’s gaze and takes his time revealing Erika’s many fetishes. Though all-powerful in the classroom, Erika is slapped around by her busybody mother as if she were a constantly misbehaving child. Read More »