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Michael Haneke (1942 - )

Related: Austria - German cinema - director - violent films

Similar directors: François Ozon - Catherine Breillat - Gaspar Noé

Titles: Funny Games (1997) - The Piano Teacher (2001) - Caché (2005)

My films are intended as polemical statements against the American 'barrel down' cinema and its dis-empowerment of the spectator. They are an appeal for a cinema of insistent questions instead of false (because too quick) answers, for clarifying distance in place of violating closeness, for provocation and dialogue instead of consumption and consensus. -- Film as catharsis.

Funny Games (1997) - Michael Haneke [Amazon.com]


Michael Haneke (born 23 March 1942 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany) is a controversial Austrian filmmaker and writer best known for his bleak and disturbing style. His films often document problems and failures in modern society.

The son of actor and director Fritz Haneke and actress Beatrix von Degenschild, Haneke was raised in the city Wiener Neustadt. He attended the University of Vienna to study philosophy and psychology after failing to achieve success in his early attempts in acting and music. After graduating, he became a film critic and from 1967 to 1970 he worked as editor and dramaturg at the southern German television station Südwestfunk. As a dramaturg, he directed a number of stage productions in german, which included Strindberg, Goethe, Bruckner, and Heinrich von Kleist in Berlin, Munich and Vienna. He made his debut as a television director in 1973.

His feature film debut was 1989's The Seventh Continent, which served to trace out the violent and bold style that would bloom in later years. Three years later, the controversial Benny's Video put Haneke's name on the map. Haneke's greatest success came in 2001 with his most critically successful film, The Piano Teacher. The film won the prestigious Grand Prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and also won its stars, Benoit Magimel and Isabelle Huppert, the Best Actor and Actress awards. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Haneke [Dec 2005]


Haneke's films are considered to be very immediate and, to a certain extent, comprehensible. However, his films are by no means simplistic. Concerned with a society that no longer knows how to love - or for that matter how to hate, his films are in many ways an attempt to resharpen the audiences feelings and responses to the world around us. Rejecting what is considered to be standard conventions of timing, build up of suspense and logical plotting, Haneke is not worried about inducing boredom, irritation and frustration.

Other aspects of his works is the critique directed towards mass media, especially television. This is featured to a large extent in Funny Games, where some of the characters are aware that they feature in a movie. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micheal_Haneke [Dec 2005]


Michael Haneke is with good certainty both Austria's most esteemed and most controversial active filmmaker. His feature Benny's Video (1992) shocked crowds with its restrained, antipsychological portrait of a teenager who kills a young girl “to see how it is”. Funny Games (1997) inspired a fierce debate on how one can interrogate violence in film. On the whole, Haneke's polemical filmic program attempts to lay bare the coldness of European society and challenge Hollywood's blithe treatment of violence. His acknowledged influences include Kieslowski, Tarkovsky, Straub, Antonioni, Jon Jost, and above all Bresson. To date his greatest commercial success has been The Piano Teacher, which garnered three awards at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and went on to become a hit in arthouse cinemas worldwide. --Mattias Frey , http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/03/haneke.html [Oct 2004]

Haneke's all time top ten

--http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/topten/poll/voter.php?forename=Michael&surname=Haneke [Oct 2004]

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