Friday, March 16, 2007

Intelligent horror...

The masterful, distinctive, sadistic, and slightly pretentious Austrian filmmaker, Michael Haneke, is sometimes touted as a modern day Hitchcock. Rightfully so I'd say. He gets suspense and violence in ways that few contemporary directors comprehend. Unlike Hitchock's cuddly creepiness, Haneke's worlds are often cold, cruel, and unrelenting. They are also beautifully composed and deeply true so that no matter how uncomfortable things get, you can never blink. "Enter as late as possible, exit as early as possible..." is his surgical recipe for editing a scene to its most effective cut. Haneke is no spoonfeeder, he expects his viewers to do some work and answer their own questions.

If you are not familiar with his films, try Caché ("Hidden") for a tame introduction. It's a movie that might resonate more with Europeans, but the underlying issues of guilt, entitlement, and responsibility are universal. If you think you're ready for the dark side, then have a go with Funny Games (currently being remade by Haneke here in the good ol' US of A).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll check out Funny Games. I liked Hidden, although I found it difficult to watch - not because of the subject matter but the way it was filmed.

Building atmosphere is one thing, but the 10-minute opening fixed shot of a street where little else happens had a lot of us scratching our heads. a few people left the cinema.

don't get me wrong, i love slow burn stuff, but didn't you find Hidden tough to get through? Is Funny Games similar in that respect?

1:43 PM  

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