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Haneke wins Palme d'Or
May 27, 2012 5:34 PM   Subscribe

The great Michael Haneke, director of disturbing gems such as Caché, Funny Games, and Funny Games, has won his second Palme d'Or at Cannes, for Amour.
posted by anothermug (73 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also, The White Ribbon. It's really great.
posted by ReeMonster at 5:42 PM on May 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I did not know about this film until this post. Just watched the preview, and it looks astounding. Thank you.
posted by xingcat at 5:56 PM on May 27, 2012


Interesting that this film is so uncharacteristic for him: a sad, tender little drama. In some ways it felt like Cabin in the Woods had more of Haneke's trademark deviousness than anything Haneke's done recently.

I haven't kept up with Cannes stuff but Holy Motors sounds really intriguing.
posted by naju at 5:58 PM on May 27, 2012


Funny Games is absolutely brilliant. It unfolds so incredibly slowly, with so much eerie tension and without a trace of reason, that it seems to render horror almost commonplace. I don't think I've ever seen anything remotely like it, and I still think about it years later.
posted by stroke_count at 6:11 PM on May 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


He's a great director of actors and he's excellent at storytelling and building tension...but I've always felt like his ideas tend to be a little gimmicky and simplistic.
posted by timsneezed at 6:15 PM on May 27, 2012


IMO his best movie is The Seventh Continent, which is based on a true story of an Austrian family who without any apparent motive suddenly decides to destroy all of their possessions and commit suicide.
posted by timsneezed at 6:17 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


cache so good.. same girl from tires colour blue also good
posted by philllip at 6:29 PM on May 27, 2012


Funny Games is one of the few truly horrible films I've seen in recent years (if we take horror to be an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting). Not graphic or gory in the Saw sense but utterly unsettling. Only downside of this years Cannes was Nanni Moretti being the jury head, meaning there could be no Nanni Moretti film in the competition.
posted by Damienmce at 6:33 PM on May 27, 2012


The film posters for the film are nice as well, as are a lot of the others of the competition.
I use the collection as some sort of visual to-do list for my upcoming cinema-visits.
posted by KMB at 6:42 PM on May 27, 2012


Is there an error in the FPP, or are there two moves named Funny Games by this director?
posted by tzikeh at 6:42 PM on May 27, 2012


sex, violence, and schubert
posted by philllip at 6:43 PM on May 27, 2012


There's the original German Funny Games and the English-language remake.

I'm madly intrigued by the premise, but I started watching the first one, got like 10 minutes in and then was like, I just can't.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:44 PM on May 27, 2012


I've only had the "pleasure" of seeing Funny Games. To this day I'm still awe-struck and horrified by it. It was a little off-putting for him to openly criticize the audience for their complicity in the film. Still, good for him. He's interesting, if nothing else.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 6:45 PM on May 27, 2012


I have never finished watching a Haneke film.
posted by Abinadab at 6:54 PM on May 27, 2012


Those of you who love Haneke (I'm one of you!), should check out the film Michael from last year. It's directed by the casting director of White Ribbon and other Haneke films. Absolutely fantastic. Only film I know of with a trailer comprised of the first minute and 45 seconds of the movie.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:55 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


IMO his best movie is The Seventh Continent, which is based on a true story of an Austrian family who without any apparent motive suddenly decides to destroy all of their possessions and commit suicide.
I saw this in a theater and the one scene that made the audience gasp out loud was when the family flushed all their money down the toilet. Says something about our priorities.
posted by xingcat at 6:57 PM on May 27, 2012


I hadn't put it together until now that both Caché and Funny Games were by the same guy. But it makes sense. They are movies that really mess with you.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:19 PM on May 27, 2012


Cache & Code Unknown are two of the most brilliant films I've ever seen. The moods that both create are really just unrivaled and utterly unique and captivating. The style is mesmerizing.

Funny Games, though, was terrible. Maybe Haneke just had to get it out of his system. And then, uh, remake it.

A therapeutic process, probably.
posted by xmutex at 7:26 PM on May 27, 2012


Funny Games was maybe the most fundamentally dishonest and hypocritical film I've ever seen. It was enough to give me pause on the rest of Haneke's oeuvre, but it sounds like some of his other films may have more merit.
posted by 6550 at 7:30 PM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also horrible, The Seventh Continent.

Family randomly destroys apartment and commits suicide.

Feels like something an angsty teenager would make.

But holy shit Cache & Code Unknown.
posted by xmutex at 7:30 PM on May 27, 2012


Just requested Cache and Code Unknown from my library!
posted by 6550 at 7:34 PM on May 27, 2012


Also horrible, The Seventh Continent.

Family randomly destroys apartment and commits suicide.

Feels like something an angsty teenager would make.


There's a lot more to the movie than that. Haneke expertly creates a mood of deep despair and emptiness beneath the surface of middle class existence. Also, the acting performances are excellent and the shooting style is totally unique.
posted by timsneezed at 7:40 PM on May 27, 2012


It seems futile for me to remain enraged at Haneke because of Funny Games, but to this day I'm still angry with myself for sticking around to the end.
posted by hermitosis at 7:59 PM on May 27, 2012


What is getting people so pissed off at Funny Games? Just curious.
posted by naju at 8:03 PM on May 27, 2012


What is getting people so pissed off at Funny Games? Just curious.

It's just dumb. It's just endless stupid senseless violence. It's a snuff film. Torture porn. It's fucking boring.
posted by xmutex at 8:07 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I barely made it through the trailer for Funny Games, definitely made me never want to see it.
posted by octothorpe at 8:18 PM on May 27, 2012


Feels like something an angsty teenager would make.

Benny's Video, about an angsty teenager doing some angsty teenage shit, also felt like something an angsty teenager would make.
posted by dgaicun at 8:27 PM on May 27, 2012


Funny Games (especially the original) reminds me how truly lame the movies which call themselves horror truly are. Someone getting stabbed, someone behind the door, blood gushing here, someone in the back of the car ... ugh. Most of the violence in Funny Games happens off screen, but the relentless sense of terror and doom is way beyond the hamhanded inanities of lesser films.
posted by anothermug at 8:28 PM on May 27, 2012


SPOILERS FOR FUNNY GAMES

It's just dumb. It's just endless stupid senseless violence. It's a snuff film. Torture porn. It's fucking boring.

A film with only one--very quick--act of violence onscreen is torture porn?

The film is the opposite of that--it's a comment on violence in cinema and audience complicity in it.

The reason the film makes many people angry--maybe not you, but everyone I know who it makes angry--is that it subverts expectation. It transcends the thriller genre while still following the genre's timeline.

***

I once heard an interview with John Carpenter where he brought up Funny Games (I think he was referring the remake) and he said that the film was easy, "anyone could do that. I could do that." I immediately lost respect for him. Not on his best fucking day could Carpenter create that sense of menace and foreboding.

It should be noted that Seventh Continent, Benny's Video, and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance each have the same root: Haneke heard/read of a true, unexplained act of violence. He then concocted a back story that would arrive at that violence. Though based on true events, none of them are true stories.

Haneke is, to my eye, the greatest filmmaker of his generation. No one has his control. No other filmmaker can play the audience like he does--it is incredible to me how much emotion he can wrench from an audience. That he does it without a score is truly remarkable.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:33 PM on May 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


whom, not who--sorry but I just have to say that, in honor of my dead dad.
posted by emhutchinson at 8:39 PM on May 27, 2012


"whom it makes angry" sorry to be corrective/pedantic, or not sorry, really. The world would be not at a loss were horrors like this not bestowed upon us. P.S. I am all for art.
posted by emhutchinson at 8:44 PM on May 27, 2012


The moment in Funny Games when Haneke broke the fourth wall and began sermonizing directly to the audience, I lost all interest.

"A Clockwork Orange" is a very disturbing movie that sickens the viewer against his/her own appetite for violence, but it also manages to tell an actual story from beginning to end, with actual characters.
posted by hermitosis at 8:44 PM on May 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


I find myself totally torn between thinking I should and shouldn't see Funny Games after reading this thread. I guess that's how it's supposed to be.
posted by spbmp at 9:07 PM on May 27, 2012


The film is the opposite of that--it's a comment on violence in cinema and audience complicity in it.

This is the reason the film made me angry, and why I felt it was as 6550 said, rather dishonest and hypocritical. I think the there's a legitimate point to be made about audience complicity with violence in cinema, but with Funny Games, I felt like the movie forced me into that complicity and then mocked and chastised me for it. I admit that part of my anger may be because I walked into the movie theater without knowing anything about the movie or director. A friend picked the movie, and all I knew was that it was a thriller. So when Haneke broke the fourth wall and started basically chastising the audience, my immediate reaction was, fuck you, you put me into this situation >:(

I suppose if Funny Games doesn't make you uncomfortable and angry, it's not doing its job, but that doesn't make it a cinematic experience I'm especially keen on. As for why I think it makes a lot of people angry besides the seeming dishonesty, I think any media that breaks the fourth wall like that tends to polarize people.
posted by yasaman at 9:10 PM on May 27, 2012


"A Clockwork Orange" is a very disturbing movie that sickens the viewer against his/her own appetite for violence, but it also manages to tell an actual story from beginning to end, with actual characters.

Funny Games does not attempt to comment violence. It comments on violence in cinema. Those are not the same goals. In fact, the violence in Clockwork Orange seems to me to be exactly the kind that Haneke abhors. (Obviously, I can't speak for him.) I haven't seen the movie in almost 30 years but from what I remember, Kubrick suckers his audience into "enjoying" the violence by presenting it as entertainment, and then asks us to empathize or sympathize with the protagonist, completely devoid of any responsibility ourselves.

And though I like Clockwork Orange fine, the film is pretty... obvious in parts. I find it much more heavy-handed than anything Haneke has ever done. That said, the two films are apples to oranges. They neither travel towards the same destination and tread the same road only briefly.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:31 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


My reaction to Funny Games (the original) is that, in breaking the forth wall, it mocks the viewer for being so easily manipulated as to derive genuine personal horror from something that is entirely fictional, presented by comfortable, well-fed actors following a script. It pops a bubble and causes you to question your emotions and priorities. In that sense it's very effective.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:32 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's just dumb.

On the contrary, I found the slow-building sense of menace to be a very sophisticated play on the audience's emotions. There are no clown masks or chainsaws to be found. I also thought the lack of exposition to contribute to the sense of absurdity in such a domestic environment. Overall, I think the director is attempting to deconstruct horror cinema and our fascination with violence.
posted by stroke_count at 9:45 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The White Ribbon is amazing.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:52 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Overall, I think the director is attempting to deconstruct horror cinema and our fascination with violence.

Unfortunately it gets sold to audiences AS horror cinema, so it's pretty understandable when people feel tricked, manipulated, or mocked by it.

Lots of arthouse directors have this problem, like Lars Von Trier or Terence Malick. Part of why "Tree of Life" foundered with audiences is that they went into it expecting a highbrow drama starring Brad Pitt, because -- let's face it -- that's what they were led to expect by the marketing. I personally loved the movie but I totally understand why so many people hated it.

"Funny Games" was just such an experience for me.
posted by hermitosis at 9:52 PM on May 27, 2012


No one's mentioned The Piano Teacher yet? The second-best of his films I've seen, after the sublime White Ribbon.
posted by junco at 10:14 PM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Googling, I found this in a New York Times interview:
Largely because of its preoccupation with violence as entertainment, “Funny Games” has been compared with Stanley Kubrick’s “Clockwork Orange.” Haneke himself, however, views “A Clockwork Orange” as a noble failure. “I’m a huge Kubrick fan, but I find ‘A Clockwork Orange’ a kind of miscalculation, because he makes the brutality so spectacular — so stylized, with dance numbers and so on — that you almost have to admire it,” he told me. “I read somewhere — I’m not sure if it’s true — that Kubrick was completely shocked when he saw how the public reacted to ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ and that he even tried to have the film recalled. It became a cult hit because people found its hyperstylized violence somehow cool, and that was certainly not what Kubrick had intended.” Haneke shook his head slowly. “It’s incredibly difficult to present violence on-screen in a responsible manner. I would never claim to be cleverer than Kubrick, but I have the advantage of making my films after he made his. I’ve been able to learn a tremendous amount from his mistakes.”
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:19 PM on May 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


And though I like Clockwork Orange fine, the film is pretty... obvious in parts. I find it much more heavy-handed than anything Haneke has ever done. That said, the two films are apples to oranges.

The family in the Seventh Continent literally flushing their money down the toilet in the Seventh Continent isn't an incredibly heavy handed image? Haneke is a great director, but being heavy-handed at times is one of his faults.
posted by timsneezed at 10:25 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The White Ribbon felt like Sebald to me, or other mysterious allegories of fascism.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:29 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It became a cult hit because people found its hyperstylized violence somehow cool, and that was certainly not what Kubrick had intended.”... I would never claim to be cleverer than Kubrick, but I have the advantage of making my films after he made his. I’ve been able to learn a tremendous amount from his mistakes.”

WTF. How does this not apply in every way to Funny Games? The Death metal soundtrack, fourth-wall breaking Leopold and Lobe caricatures, and bloody tortures are all stylish conceits. Both movies were trying to be cool and both succeeded. If either movie was somehow trying to unglamorize violence as entertainment (an idea so shockingly bone-headed it simply needs to be interpreted as disgenuousness), they failed for the same reasons.

You want to know how to make a statement against violence as entertainment? Don't make violent entertainment.

At least Quentin Tarantino is honest enough (on his director commentaries) to embrace his subject matter as a pursuit of the cool and entertaining. A guy getting tortured to Stuck in the Middle With You. Isn't that fucked up and thrilling to watch? Yes, it is, Mr. Tarantino. Yes it is.
posted by dgaicun at 10:36 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The moment in Funny Games when Haneke broke the fourth wall and began sermonizing
directly to the audience, I lost all interest.

posted by hermitosis at 8:44 PM on May 27

Cheers and cheers again! My problem with the film is not that it has something intelligent to say about the state of horror and audience involvement in it. It does. My problem is the smug way in which it is delivered as if to say, "Ha! Got one over on you! God you're a sicko!" Fuck him for that, and fuck him for being so audacious as to masquerade under the auspices of art for that matter. I just think being confrontational with your audience is not a particularly wise decision in regards to nurturing a fanbase. But here he is winning awards and attracting scads of fans, so what do I know?
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 10:52 PM on May 27, 2012


But here he is winning awards and attracting scads of fans, so what do I know?

Well, to get off Funny Games for a minute, did you see Cache & Code Unknown? Because a man makes those two movies, let alone those & The White Ribbon, a man deserves awards and scads of fans for all time.
posted by xmutex at 11:02 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The family in the Seventh Continent literally flushing their money down the toilet in the Seventh Continent isn't an incredibly heavy handed image?

It's what the family did. In real life. I propose to you that if you see the film again, you'll notice that Haneke reveals this information as uninflected as is possible. The camera doesn't zoom into it. The camera doesn't dolly. The soundtrack doesn't swell... there is no way he could show you money being flushed in a less heavy-handed manner. However, if you think the act of flushing money in and of itself is heavy-handed, then I have no answer for you.

How does this not apply in every way to Funny Games? The Death metal soundtrack, fourth-wall breaking Leopold and Lobe caricatures, and bloody tortures are all stylish conceits.

I really think you're misremembering or mischaracterizing the film. There is no "death metal soundtrack". (None of Haneke's films have soundtracks in the sense that that term is normally used). There is one piece of "crazy" music (John Zorn's Naked City--not Death Metal) over the opening credits. That's it. There are no "bloody tortures"--absolutely all of the violence takes place offscreen. Everything except for one shotgun blast--which cannot be described as "torture" and maybe one strike to the leg by a golf club--again, neither bloody or torture.

If either movie was somehow trying to unglamorize violence

Funny Games is not trying to "unglamorize" violence. It's trying to make you think about it by not glamorizing it. How is having it happen offscreen glamorizing it?

You want to know how to make a statement against violence as entertainment? Don't make violent entertainment

Yeah, Remains of the Day and Bend it Like Beckham sure do make statements against violence as entertainment. ... ?!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:16 PM on May 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


That should say "think about it while not glamorizing it".

The fact that you seem to remember a bloody torture film under a death metal score when nothing could be further from the truth is testament to Haneke's power and control as a filmmaker. Your recollection of what you saw disproves what you claim about it!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:19 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's what the family did. In real life.

That doesn't matter. A lot of things that people do translated to fiction would seem contrived or heavy-handed.

I propose to you that if you see the film again, you'll notice that Haneke reveals this information as uninflected as is possible. The camera doesn't zoom into it. The camera doesn't dolly. The soundtrack doesn't swell...


Yeah but he also lingers on the image for a really long time, after we've more than gotten the point.

there is no way he could show you money being flushed in a less heavy-handed manner. However, if you think the act of flushing money in and of itself is heavy-handed, then I have no answer for you.

There's no way of playing it down because the act itself is so heavy-handed and on the nose.

-----

I think people get overly hung up on the shock value of his ideas/imagery, where to me that's his weakest ability a director. Where he really excels is in directing actors, writing interesting character relationships and keeping his films engaging with minimal plot.
posted by timsneezed at 11:27 PM on May 27, 2012


Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. If you're making a film about a real story in which you do not know the characters' motivations--just their actions--I (and I expect, Haneke) would think it wrong, heavy-handed, and insulting to omit what few facts you actually have.

Haneke's draw to these stories is that he doesn't know why the perpetrators do everything they do. A less confident filmmaker *would* omit the money flushing just as s/he would score the chase scenes in a thriller. Haneke's not that filmmaker.

Yeah but he also lingers on the image for a really long time, after we've more than gotten the point.

I haven't seen that film since it was made but my recollection is that *every* shot lingers; that was part of the style of the film itself. But that's like being upset because Ozu doesn't move the camera--you either dig it or you don't, but it's not changeable without trickling through every other aspect of the film.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:39 PM on May 27, 2012


"A Clockwork Orange" is a very disturbing movie that sickens the viewer against his/her own appetite for violence

Hardly. Titillation is one of the main themes of the film, which Kubrick takes a cynical joy in bringing to his audience through repeated scenes, while Haneke's film never lets viewers off the hook. I appreciate both films for their own merits, but they cannot be understood through such a simple equivalence.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:42 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen that film since it was made but my recollection is that *every* shot lingers; that was part of the style of the film itself. But that's like being upset because Ozu doesn't move the camera--you either dig it or you don't, but it's not changeable without trickling through every other aspect of the film.

I've seen the film a number of times and he definitely lingers much longer on this particular shot.

Based on interviews he's given Haneke's aim in adapting the story was not to depict what actually happened with any accuracy. As I recall he completely changed the characters' motivations and the details of their lives. In the original article he read there were various motivations given by the reporter -- alcoholism, abuse, whatever. Because he wasn't striving for accuracy he had creative license to do whatever he wanted with the facts. He basically just took the seed of an idea and spun it into his own thing. I don't think there's anything insulting about changing the facts of a story when translating into fiction unless you claim to be depicting the events with any accuracy.

Given that he makes the anti-consumerism theme so blatant throughout the story, that toilet flushing scene seemed eye-rollingly obvious and unnecessary to me. In the context of a different story, told differently, it might have worked.

It's the only part of the movie I have any problem with. I love the rest.
posted by timsneezed at 12:18 AM on May 28, 2012


Your recollection of what you saw disproves what you claim about it!

I remember the film vividly, and have seen both the German and the English version. I'm not going to quibble about my music statements, but I will admit that "bloody tortures" was a clumsy locution for blood and tortures. And yes the golf club, the stripping, and suffocation are tortures.


Funny Games is not trying to "unglamorize" violence. It's trying to make you think about it by not glamorizing it. How is having it happen offscreen glamorizing it?

By putting it in the format of a stylish and entertaining thriller. By dramatizing the story. I don't understand why you think showing a shot-gun murder is the only way to "glamorize" violence. Gruesome movie violence is relatively new, but folktales, then plays, then books, then radio, then classic Hollywood have all managed to transform fictional violence into entertainment without it. Indeed even the bloody aftermath of the murder, which the movie does show, is more gruesome than anything ever shown in a Hitchcock movie, and Hitchcock was among the worst pre-1970s offendors.

Yeah, Remains of the Day and Bend it Like Beckham sure do make statements against violence as entertainment. ... ?!

Indeed, not participating is one of the best ways to make a statement against something, or at least engaging in the behavior is the worst possible way. Are there ways that entertainment can be used to criticize or satirize violence in entertainment without perpetuating in the same? The answer is yes, but this is dependent upon the intelligence and imagination of artist.
posted by dgaicun at 12:19 AM on May 28, 2012


"Well, to get off Funny Games for a minute, did you see Cache & Code Unknown? Because
a man makes those two movies, let alone those & The White Ribbon, a man deserves
awards and scads of fans for all time."

No I haven't. I'm only judging him based on the English version of Funny Games. However, I'm visually impaired and it's somewhat difficult to find folks willing to read subtitles. My ex girlfriend nearly strangled me when I had her sit through Thirteen Assassins. :) Have there been any other English-ified versions of his films? It sucks I can't appreciate them as they were intended, but whatcha gonna do?
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 12:59 AM on May 28, 2012


"A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch."

I know that the movie is actually good, but that one-sentence synopsis of Caché on IMDB is hilarious.
posted by straight at 2:50 AM on May 28, 2012


"A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch."

I haven't seen Caché, and I'm looking forward to seeing it - but isn't that basically the first third of Lost Highway? I assume it differs but I don't want to accidentally look up spoilers.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 6:13 AM on May 28, 2012


Weirdly Cache did very little for me but I was mesmerised by White Ribbon throughout.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:48 AM on May 28, 2012


I hated Cache. After the amazing reviews almost everyone who saw it at the showing I was at was saying "What was that about..?" as they left, and not in an 'impressed' way.

Almost universally lauded when it came out (e.g. this Guardian review), it had a much rockier reception among Amazon reviewers, which I think is what it deserved.
posted by DanCall at 8:58 AM on May 28, 2012


What's it mean to be complicit in cinematic violence? Are you, like, imagining it too hard? And that's bad because...?
posted by LogicalDash at 1:57 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It became a cult hit because people found its hyperstylized violence somehow cool, and that was certainly not what Kubrick had intended.”... I would never claim to be cleverer than Kubrick, but I have the advantage of making my films after he made his. I’ve been able to learn a tremendous amount from his mistakes.”

One more interesting observation RE: Haneke's self-congratulating noise about succeeding where A Clockwork Orange "failed".

IMDb correlates movies together based on who likes them. The three top movies that people who give A Clockwork Orange a high rating are more likely to also give a high rating are: Dog Day Afternoon, American History X, and Once Upon a Time in America. All intelligent, serious dramas that wrestle with the morality and consequences of violence. Meanwhile the three top movies most associated with Funny Games fans are... Martyrs, Haute Tension, and Splinter. All superficial, gore porn horror movies made for teenagers.

If Kubrick made mistakes with ACO, Haneke certainly didn't learn from them, he repeated them and compounded them. Based on fans alone you can see which movie was more likely to pick up fans because they found "its hyperstylized violence somehow cool".
posted by dgaicun at 9:58 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


(And to be clear I never said I hated Haneke's films, even the angsty teen ones. And yes I liked White Ribbon more than his other films.)
posted by dgaicun at 10:09 PM on May 28, 2012


American History X
intelligent, serious drama

Yeah, righto.
posted by Wolof at 1:26 AM on May 29, 2012


What's it mean to be complicit in cinematic violence?

Not sure if you're being sarcastic, but here goes with a genuine answer:

It means you are cheering for the on-screen violence. It's a pretty solid basis for a lot of slasher movies: the audience spends more time in the point of view of the killer than they do the victims and we are (often) rooting for characters to get killed off. It's pretty common and I feel (as a fan of horror movies) it can be quite cathartic. I can also see how it's something of a fucked up idea to have in mass entertainment.

A few movies off the top of my head that try to make the viewer actively uncomfortable with the violence portrayed and not be in favour of it: A History of Violence, Drive and Irreversible. They all use violence as a part of the narrative and the characters but the violence is direct, quick, often visceral and explicit and never really celebrated. Michael Bay might kill more people in his movies but when anyone dies it is a 'fuck yeah!' moment rather than a moment of shock and repulsion.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:09 AM on May 29, 2012


Meanwhile the three top movies most associated with Funny Games fans are... Martyrs, Haute Tension, and Splinter.

This doesn't appear to be a reliable way to classify audiences. I just did a check on recommendations and here is what I saw:

Funny Games (1997)
--------------------------
Funny Games (2007)
The Girl Next Door (2007)
High Tension (2003)
Oldboy (2003)
The Dark Knight (2008)
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
City of God (2002)
The Loved Ones (2009)
Dead Calm (1989)
Munich (2005)

Funny Games (2007)
---------------------------
Funny Games (1997)
A History of Violence (2005)
Trapped (2002)
The Dark Knight (2008)
As Good as Dead (2010)
The Proposition (2005)
The River Wild (1994)
The Departed (2006)
High Tension (2003)
Machete (2010)

If I could draw an inference it would be that people who watched Funny Games also watched other thrillers - that's about it.
posted by borges at 9:06 AM on May 29, 2012


If you saw Funny Games, you probably knew you were going to watch a movie about a two psychopaths senselessly torturing and killing a family. Haneke gave you not what you wanted, but what you probably deserved.
posted by borges at 9:16 AM on May 29, 2012


I haven't seen Caché, and I'm looking forward to seeing it - but isn't that basically the first third of Lost Highway?

Yeah, the way I felt about Caché was that Hanecke probably saw Lost Highway and thought that was an interesting idea to go in a very different direction with.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:26 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


While I applaud the idea of a movie trying to make viewers uncomfortable with the sorts of violence that movies routinely depict as entertainment, I think in practice it almost always works out like filmmakers who try to wield the male gaze and ogle their actresses ironically. You end up with a work that many viewers enjoy enjoy in exactly the same way as the stuff you're supposedly trying to question.

Also like Logical Dash, I question the terminology of calling viewers "complicit"; it sounds silly and condescending and makes it sound like you're the one having trouble distinguishing fiction from reality. It's one thing to try to make something that causes people to question their reactions to violence. It's quite another to assume you know what's going on in people's heads and what their motives are in watching a movie.

Is there any evidence that people who enjoy torture porn watch Funny Games and find themselves questioning their enjoyment of the SAW franchise? Or is this more like the Weekly World News where everyone enjoys imagining a hypothetical group of people dumber than themselves who actually believe the stories are true?
posted by straight at 10:38 AM on May 29, 2012


While I applaud the idea of a movie trying to make viewers uncomfortable with the sorts of violence that movies routinely depict as entertainment, I think in practice it almost always works out like filmmakers who try to wield the male gaze and ogle their actresses ironically.

I think you're assuming here that Haneke is necessarily trying to make a message movie, one that imparts some truth or idea or frame of reference to the viewer, which could certainly be argued for but I'm not sure is a given. To my mind, it's possible to make a film that is an exploration of an idea and that the audience's reaction(s) to that film are part of that exploration: Funny Games can be interesting to talk about outside of the content of the film, which is indeed a large portion of the conversation surrounding it.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:45 AM on May 29, 2012


Is there any evidence that people who enjoy torture porn watch Funny Games and find themselves questioning their enjoyment of the SAW franchise?

Not sure why the focus is on torture porn or horror movies, per se. I read 'Funny Games' as more of a comment on the thriller genre. Prior to the infamous rewind scene, the film is going down a pretty standard path (that of almost every other thriller ever made) of protagonist pushed 'too far' before finally fighting back. Without that payback - that revenge fantasy fulfilled - many thrillers are nothing but torture porn. It may not be the most profound point ever made by a director, but that doesn't mean the point wasn't worth making.
posted by borges at 3:08 PM on May 29, 2012


A few movies off the top of my head that try to make the viewer actively uncomfortable with the violence portrayed and not be in favour of it: A History of Violence, Drive and Irreversible. They all use violence as a part of the narrative and the characters but the violence is direct, quick, often visceral and explicit and never really celebrated.

The violence in Irreversible is not short. It takes a good minute for that dude to essentially get his face destroyed by the fire extinguisher, and the infamous rape/beating/humiliation scene goes on and on.
posted by anothermug at 6:50 PM on May 29, 2012


This doesn't appear to be a reliable way to classify audiences. I just did a check on recommendations and here is what I saw:

Incorrect. The recommendations feature I used is based on actual user preferences, while the recommendation feature you just used is based on a grab-bag of blind variables like genre and keywords. Mine reveals the actual film tastes of Funny Games fans, while yours is simply the predicted tastes of Funny Games fans. That's like telling someone who loves their wife that they chose wrong because your 1980s computer dating program says they're a bad match.
posted by dgaicun at 8:33 PM on May 29, 2012


I think this is a dumb argument.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:49 AM on May 30, 2012


The recommendations feature I used is based on actual user preference

IMDB has two different recommendations features? It isn't clear what you are using to get those titles.

According to IMDB the recommendations feature is based on: factors such as user votes, genre, title, and keywords to generate an automatic response. User votes have some impact on what is recommended.
posted by borges at 8:59 AM on May 30, 2012


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