The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Michael Haneke Day

 

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. -– Michael Haneke, “Film as Catharsis”

‘Michael Haneke is arguably Europe’s most esteemed and most controversial filmmaker. After twenty years of directing for the cinema, he has earned a place in the pantheon of the most acclaimed active auteurs. 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 programme attempts to lay bare the coldness of Western society and challenge Hollywood’s blithe treatment of violence. With acknowledged influences including Andrei Tarkovsky, Jean-Marie Straub, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jon Jost, Abbas Kiarostami and above all Robert Bresson, his recent work has garnered a host of accolades and arthouse success. Caché (Hidden, 2005) won the Palme d’or and was voted by The Times as the “film of the decade”. Das weiße Band (The White Ribbon, 2009) earned Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Foreign-Language Film.

‘Born in 1942 in Munich, Michael Haneke grew up in the Lower Austrian city of Wiener Neustadt. He studied psychology, philosophy and theatre at the University of Vienna and wrote film and literature reviews on the side. From 1967 to 1970 he worked as editor and dramaturge at the southern German television station Südwestfunk. It was in 1970 that Haneke began writing and directing films and (similar to most Austrian directors of his generation) his initial experiences behind the camera were projects for television. Haneke has also directed a number of stage productions (including Strindberg, Goethe, Bruckner, and Kleist) in Berlin, Munich, Vienna and Paris. His first film intended for cinematic release, Der siebente Kontinent (The Seventh Continent), premiered in 1989.

‘Writers retrospectively plot a director’s career as a teleological historical narrative with a familiar literary pattern, in this way circumscribing his or her works for the sake of a neat (if contrived) principle of organisation. Examining a living, very much active filmmaker is problematic and, I would argue, assessing Haneke is particularly challenging. No sooner has a commentator made a “definitive” pronouncement on what does or does not characterise Haneke’s oeuvre, than the director defies all expectations. After being initially positioned in the context of Austria’s television and film (cottage) industries and cultural politics, for example, he moved his operations to Paris and began making French-language “European” films with high-profile arthouse stars and multinational funding. Over the years, Haneke has regularly issued devastating squibs denouncing the manipulative American cinema (see the epigraph to this essay)—and then proceeded to make a picture with Hollywood money. After years of nostalgic recuperations of celluloid materiality and cinematic spectatorship, he began to make films that depend on digital technology and demand DVD viewing.

‘In spite of my own admonition against trying to pin down a moving target, I will attempt to work out a few characteristics of Haneke’s cinema and the experience of watching it. Although these principles do not apply equally to each individual film, they provide a framework to begin to approach the director.

‘Stories chronicle the failings of emotionally cold individuals and the implosion of bourgeois social structures when placed under a complicating duress.

‘Culturally, these narratives concern and comment on the identity politics of European class systems, gender roles and ethnic hierarchies, as well as the individual and collective guilt that these structures engineer.

‘Narrative forms tend toward the episodic and elliptical. Befitting art cinema practices, characters’ motivations remain obscure and their goals ambiguous; clear narrative resolutions are foreclosed or made impossible to determine. Haneke’s cinema provokes, demands but ultimately frustrates interpretation.

‘Stylistically, Haneke’s work favours the long take over montage and static shots over camera movement. Specific patterns of editing, framing, sound design and performance produce an uncomfortable viewing experience that, at best, invites a critical attitude towards media, images and the representation of violence and, at worst, uses these elements as titillation or authorial signature.

‘More so than the works of other filmmakers, watching Haneke is coloured by his media performances, theoretical observations and self-analyses. On the festival circuit and in provocative interviews, an ensemble of Hanekean provocations and buzzwords (e.g., “Every film rapes”; “I want to rape the viewer into independence”) competes with the viewer’s experience and invites critical attacks.’ — Mattias Frey

 

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Further

Michael Haneke @ IMDb
Where to begin with Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke, The Art of Screenwriting
Michael Haneke @ MUBI
Michael Haneke @ Twitter
Michael Haneke’s Harrowing Excavations Of Modern Society
Michael Haneke @ letterboxd
Book: The Cinema of Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke @ No Film School
Michael Haneke Interview: Uncut
Book: A Companion to Michael Haneke
A View to a Kill: Michael Haneke’s “Cache”
Michael Haneke: ‘I use the internet, but I don’t have time to waste on social media’
Michael Haneke • Great Director profile
Michael Haneke assesses his oeuvre
Michael Haneke Talks ‘Happy End,’ Dangers Of Social Media, Immortality & More
Michael Haneke interview: the master of misery cinema on selfies, Snapchat, and ‘the despair that comes after the tears’
A Minute With: Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke: The Intermedial Void
Michael Haneke: ‘I hope all my films are obscene’
Michael Haneke Goes Cruelty-Free With Amour
Michael Haneke by Lawrence Chua
The Conversations: Michael Haneke

 

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Extras


Michael Haneke on Long Takes


Les Génériques de Michael Haneke – Blow Up – ARTE


Michael Haneke with Monika Schärer at the ZFF Masters

 

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Interview

 

In our first interview 20 years ago, when The Seventh Continent came out, the question of religion took up quite some space. You talked a lot about Jansenism, Pascal, and Bresson, for instance. And in later years, theologians have engaged with your work in books and conferences. Nowadays, you rarely talk about such issues, but The White Ribbon is a film that directly tackles religion—in its less transcendent aspects, of course.

I don’t mind this approach to my work, but I am not a religious filmmaker. Not at all. The Seventh Continent is a much more existential film than The White Ribbon, which deals more with the surface of religion, its negative political side; the question of God is not raised at all. No religion automatically spawns terror, it’s always the churches and people who use the basic religious needs of others for their own ideological ends, in conjunction with education and politics. Faith per se is something positive; it generates meaning. I for one have no religious faith anymore. Tough luck! Because if you do, you have a different, more contented view of life. For the Jansenists, the existence of God survives in his remoteness or unavailability. You can say that this is only wordplay, but it’s closer to one’s sensations than a purely rational explanation. You can rationalize and explain away the feeling of being overwhelmed by nature, for instance, but the feeling remains.

You already mentioned that you were baptized as a Protestant, but you’ve also told me that you grew up without seeing much of your father and that you were educated by three “mothers” in cozy Catholic surroundings—which you disliked. Your upbringing must have been quite the opposite from the pastor’s kids in The White Ribbon.

Since puberty, I‘ve always defined myself by taking a certain distance. I see it even in everyday conversations. That’s also why I’m not good at accepting accolades. How should I say . . . As soon as a majority takes shape, I’m against it on principle. It’s instinctive. Whenever people agree on everything, I get aggressive. At school, I didn’t go to Catholic religious instruction—we had Protestant instruction once a month, and I enjoyed being different from all the others in my class. I never liked being slapped on the back, and I don’t want to do the back-slapping myself, either. I was a loner as a kid and I’ve remained that way. I’m not especially proud of it, of course, it’s just a fact.

In the reception of your films, violence and its media depiction are often discussed as your major theme. But there may be a larger term that defines your interest better and that includes violence, namely the notion of lovelessness. It’s also at the center of the new film.

Doesn’t all dramatic work deal with this? Chekhov at least, who is the greatest dramatic writer next to Shakespeare. He is so heartbreaking in Uncle Vanya, the way he presents carelessness and the desperate longing for a love that, in the end, one is unable to muster anyway. And it’s also what’s prevalent in daily life, the feeling of a lack of love that everyone is afflicted by.

But since the fetish of love in all its variations has been such a core element of middle-class ideology for two centuries, it’s not surprising that the great artworks of this same era regularly uncover the actual lack of love in bourgeois relations. It’s an important type of social critique, and I see your films as part of this tradition—even though you don’t tend to view them as explicit social critique.

Well, I’m certainly a part of bourgeois culture, and I do view the society I live in as pretty loveless. In The White Ribbon the theme probably presents itself more pointedly, almost in model form, because of the historical distance between the story and ourselves. But it’s not limited to works from the past two centuries. I think that poems or artworks from earlier times appear to us through our own framework. You read or hear something that was made in the 17th century or in antiquity and you draw it toward you. Otherwise we wouldn’t be moved by so many creations from the distant past. There is a continuity of certain themes that can’t be dismissed, even if the forms of social life and artistic expression undergo massive changes.

I’m interested in the topic of education and its representative in The White Ribbon, the teacher and narrator of the film. In many ways he departs from the rigidity, cynicism, or brutality that the other figures of authority often show—the pastor, the doctor, the steward. The teacher is the only male character who really asks questions, almost like a detective, and he’s also the only one who is allowed a genuinely sweet love story. But we never really see him in his job, teaching things to the pupils or bringing some enlightenment. It’s almost as if he becomes part of the repressive system by default, his potential as an alternative figure not fully realized.

Yes, of course. On the one hand he is a bit of an outsider from the start. He’s a counterweight in the whole construction, someone who takes a distance and has his doubts. Teachers often play this role. Look at how Wittgenstein practiced his job as a schoolteacher—he was in direct conflict with the small community where he worked. I also remember one or two teachers from my own childhood who were real idealists. On the other hand, he’s a bit of an opportunist sometimes, for instance when he echoes the pastor’s authoritarian stance toward the pupils. He’s not fully up to snuff in terms of acting as an alternative. To me there are no completely positive or negative characters in the film. The pastor is not evil either, he’s really convinced of what he does. He really loves his children. That’s the horror of it. It was normal to beat one’s kids. When he tells them, “I won’t sleep tonight, because tomorrow I will have to hurt you,” it sounds cynical to our ears, but I think it’s better to believe him. It’s not very interesting to see him as a sadist or as a grotesque mental case. If these people had just been perverts, this kind of behavior wouldn’t have had such broad effects. And I’m not sure if any other system of education is inherently better. It’s always about the individual pedagogical impulse: do you do something just to exert your authority, or to help the other person find his or her way in society—as shitty as society may be. Each educational system is only as good as the person who acts in it.

As a professor at the Vienna Film Academy, you are also a teacher. Do you feel an obligation beyond the professional side, beyond teaching filmmaking, to educate the students in a more general sense?

I guess I’m a relatively demanding teacher because I think it’s no use treating students with kid gloves. At the Academy, they are working with a net anyway, so I try to quickly raise the requirements to prepare them for the professional life. I also try and give them internships on my shoots, but it can’t be more than two per film. And usually I don’t mix with the students on a personal level. I mean, I give advice whenever they call me, but I don’t go out for a beer with them. I don’t believe the role of “best buddy” is something that a teacher or parent should aspire to. I think kids hate that, they find their buddies at school, but in a father or teacher they look for a role model.

After the Cannes premiere, several critic friends asked me which literary work The White Ribbon is based on. But it’s an original script, of course. Can you describe the tone that you were aiming at? What kind of writing were you thinking of when working on the dialogues and the narration?

In terms of the formal mode, I decided on two things early on: to do the film in black and white and to have a narrator. Both are means to create distance and avoid any false naturalism. It’s the memory of someone from that era, so I wanted to find a language adequate to this period. I wanted to write from the feeling of how I had experienced this era through literature. Theodor Fontane is probably the closest I can think of. His writing seems representative. I like this measured language—it gives a kind of dignity to the subject and to the reader, it doesn’t jump at you. It’s gentle and discreet.

It’s pretty daring, I think, to introduce such a strong narrator. Ten or 15 years ago, this might have been deemed old-fashioned, but in today’s film landscape it feels like a radical gesture.

That’s why I felt it was legitimate to do it, and why it was fun. It’s like a slap in the face of what is seen as up-to-date and necessary in storytelling today. And it’s an attempt to provoke a certain attentiveness or thoughtfulness in the viewer that the current narrative models in film no longer provoke, even if they are very refined or complicated. There are also people in music and literature who create highly advanced works and at some point return to a “classicist” mode.

Apart from the creation of distance, are there other reasons for the choice of black and white?

There’s a very important practical reason, too. You need to bluff when making a historical film, because you never find original settings that have remained unchanged. You always have to add to the locations and structures that you find, which is much easier if the end result is in black and white and not in color. If you drive through the former GDR, for instance, you see that the houses have very different colors than ours, made by a different industry that produced different chemicals. Each era and each region have their own color that dies with the specific companies that produced it. I rarely see historical films that seem to get it right in color.

What are the positive exceptions?

Patrice Chéreau’s Queen Margot I find terrific—he manages to create a historical climate for which we have no photographic sources, of course, but which I find fully credible. At the same time, it becomes operatic. Visconti managed to do that too, even better.

So far, the technical side of filmmaking has not been a major topic of discussion about your work. But the look of your films seems to become more important, with Time of the Wolf, for instance, and especially with the new film.

For me, it’s always important, but the more experience you have, the closer you can follow what the cinematographer does. For instance, I always fight for less light when we shoot! In this case we shot on color film, because if you work with candles and oil lamps a lot, you need extremely light-sensitive material, which is unavailable in black and white. It became a black-and-white film only in postproduction. I had a fantastic crew—Christoph Kanter, my art director who I’ve been working with for ages, Moidele Bickel, the costume designer, whom I hired because she had done the costumes for Queen Margot—the best I’ve seen in cinema. She’s a master in creating the necessary patina, clothes that look truly worn. I don’t think a director needs to be proficient in all these crafts, cinematography, set design, etc., but he needs the ability to quickly perceive all details and proportions and see if something is wrong.

Today, digital postproduction also allows you to “fix” things that weren’t physically possible or went wrong on the set.

The only thing that counts is the result, in its effect on the viewer. And if the viewer is being respected in the work, then all kinds of artistic or technical intervention are not only legitimate, but should be required.

Would it be conceivable for you to make a computer-generated film in the manner of Pixar, provided it were possible to render fully realistic, lifelike images of humans?

Absolutely. It could be total cinéma d’auteur. But the pleasure and the value of collaborating with others, primarily with the actors, would be gone. The kind of tension that you always look for, between a written part and a real person who inhabits that part with all the additional qualities that are unique to this actor—that element would be gone.

 

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14 of Michael Haneke’s 24 films

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The Seventh Continent (1989)
The Seventh Continent is the work of a developing artist (keeping in mind, of course, Haneke’s years in theatre and television), but the film dates extraordinarily well. Its major themes find more focused exposition in the extraordinary La Pianiste, a work adapted from another source but unmistakably Haneke’s in its major concerns. Like the devastating news account from which the film is drawn, The Seventh Continent is a horrendous announcement of the demise of a civilisation.’ — Christopher Sharrett


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Michael Haneke discusses The Seventh Continent

 

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Benny’s Video (1992)
‘From its startling opening, featuring video footage of a pig being slaughtered with a bolt gun, it’s clear that Michael Haneke’s second feature is unlikely to pull its punches. After all, in his previous film, The Seventh Continent (1989), Haneke featured a family locking themselves in their own house, destroying it out of sight of the prying eyes of the world and, when there is nothing left, finally despatching themselves. If that film satirised aspects of Western middle-class life, Benny’s Video had its sights aimed at the way we consume media and what we regard as entertainment.’ — CURZON


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Deleted scenes

 

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Die Rebellion (1993)
‘Andreas Pum lost a leg and won a medal in the war. Even after the general breakdown he still maintains a firm belief in the legitimacy of order and the authority of the state. When he himself gets caught up in the wheels of the state apparatus, he begins to reconsider his values. Too late. Dying he renounces his god.’ — AFC


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71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994)
‘This cerebral Austrian mystery, by avant-garde director Michael Haneke, will disturb those viewers with the patience to wade through it. The film begins with a grisly mass killing. It was Christmas eve 1993 and a 19-year old student inexplicably murders several people and then kills himself. The fragmented film flashes back to October 12 and then progresses toward the fateful night. Throughout the film many characters appear and suddenly reappear. A homeless teenaged Romanian exile roaming Vienna’s streets and begging provides continuity. Each fragment begins with a newscast that functions as a surreal Greek Chorus One shows footage of the war in Sarajevo, and the other is a story about Michael Jackson.’ — Sandra Brennan


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Das Schloß (1997)
‘Existential drama directed by Michael Haneke and adapted from the novel by Franz Kafka. Land surveyor, K. (Ulrich Mühe), arrives at a small village that houses a castle. Though he was invited to the castle by officials, authorities refuse to allow him to enter and befuddle him with increasingly bizarre bureaucratic obstacles. K. grows perplexed by this and ultimately feels alienated from the society he has entered into.’ — Blackwell’s


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Funny Games (1997)
‘Michael Haneke’s most notorious provocation, Funny Games spares no detail in its depiction of the agony of a bourgeois family held captive at their vacation home by a pair of white-gloved young men. In a series of escalating “games,” the sadistic duo subject their victims to unspeakable physical and psychological torture over the course of a night. A home-invasion thriller in which the genre’s threat of bloodshed is made stomach-churningly real, the film ratchets up shocks even as its executioners interrupt the action to address the audience, drawing queasy attention to the way that cinema milks pleasure from pain and stokes our appetite for atrocity. With this controversial treatise on violence and entertainment, Haneke issued a summation of his cinematic philosophy, implicating his audience in a spectacle of unbearable cruelty.’ — The Criterion Collection


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Code Unknown (2000)
‘This isn’t necessarily Haneke’s best film (though it’s certainly in the running), but it’s definitely his least hectoring and (befitting its title) his most mysterious. Indeed, it takes a long time just to determine what Code Unknown is about, as its multiple narratives appear largely unrelated. Characters from one story occasionally encounter those from another, but not in the usual way that suggests everything is connected—it seems more like a means of imposing some small degree of structure on what’s basically a series of non-comedic blackout sketches organized around a common theme. Eventually, it becomes clear that Haneke is interrogating the idea of intervention, as it plays out between lovers, between strangers, and between nations. That may sound tediously academic, but Haneke’s skill at orchestrating almost unbearably visceral confrontations makes it anything but.’ — AV Club


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Michael Haneke on Storyboarding CODE UNKNOWN

 

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The Piano Teacher (2001)
‘The films that have followed The Piano Teacher have referred more and less directly to problems of postcolonialism and migration. In some, like Time of the Wolf (2003) and Caché (2005), these are the explicit focus. In others, like Amour (2012) and Happy End (2017), the fragility of the European Union stands in the background—in immigrant workers waiting to be paid; in refugees flooding the city of Calais. Using the same actors and even variations on the same characters again and again, Haneke inscribes these problems within the family, giving his corpus a quality that critics have called taxonomic: he examines the possibilities of contemporary (haute) bourgeois life in an increasingly volatile political reality. And the disaster is ongoing.

‘Yet The Piano Teacher mostly eschews historical and sociological questions. Instead, it stakes its claim on the continued vitality of an endangered European tradition—not classical music but the art cinema itself. Positing a masochistic spectator who wants to suffer through a film like this one, it makes a bid to turn us into teachers—or its transmitters. The paradox is that it works, and that this may mean accepting, as Erika muses in the novel, that “art is no consolation.”— Moira Weigel


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Isabelle Huppert Discusses “The Piano Teacher”

 

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Time of the Wolf (2003)
‘I originally wrote it as a science-fiction film, and now it’s set in the present. The audience no longer has to be prepared for the possibility of catastrophes happening. I was working on the screenplay for a different film when I was bowled over by 9/11, and I thought, “Something which has a lot in common with Time of the Wolf is happening here.” It was originally supposed to be my first project with Isabelle Huppert. Despite her support and that of the now-deceased Toscan du Plantier, financing the project wasn’t possible: too expensive, too complex, not a lot of fun, in other words difficult to sell. Thanks to the success of The Piano Teacher, backers were prepared to invest more money, and because of the material’s unfortunate currency due to 9/11, it suddenly became possible.’ — MH


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THE MAKING OF

 

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Caché (2005)
‘The crux of the problem in Hidden, as it often is in the work of Haneke’s artistic soul mates, revolves around questions of control, of power and emotional manipulation—more precisely, who is behind the surveillance tapes and what was their motive in making and sending them. Imagine the scenario of Rear Window re-presented from the perspective of wife-murderer Thorwald rather than voyeur-sleuth L.B. Jeffries (minus the resolution, of course). Except in this case the plaintive cry delivered by Thorwald when he enters the lair of his eager tormentor—“What do you want of me?”—is delivered by guilt-ridden investigator Georges to a hapless victim, when it should be directed inward at the deceptions propping up his fatuous sense of self. Once again, this is typical film noir turf implanted with the fleurs du mal of contemporary crisis. We feel insecure, stressed, threatened by elusive forces whose connection to us as individuals is obscure. Yet we can’t quite shake rumbles of complicity, of having acceded to something for which we will ultimately be held accountable and from which our unprecedented standard of living cannot protect us. It is this heart of darkness that beats beneath the icy surface of Haneke’s films. An unwelcoming site, we avoid it at our peril.’ — Paul Arthur


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Funny Games (2007)
‘Regardless of what version you are watching, Funny Games is a painful watch, acting as a rather soulless one hour and fifty-minute essay in violence on screen and how we need to change our ways. It is one of the few films I have watched in my lifetime that actively positions itself against the viewer and takes every conceivable opportunity it can to anger you. Then again, maybe it was not supposed to be enjoyed in any conventional way, especially when taken for what it is: a filmic experiment into our enjoyment of violence and nothing more.’ — David Monaghan


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The White Ribbon (2009)
‘I always like to feed the viewer’s distrust of what they’re shown in film. That’s expressed in The White Ribbon solely when the narrator says, “I don’t know if all the details of the story I’m going to tell you are true, a lot of it’s hearsay, etc.” The film’s story is told in a contradictory way – it’s not that we see only what the narrator was actually able to see. There are also scenes where he wasn’t there. That’s my wink at the beginning, to make it clear that we’re not dealing with a factual account, but someone’s construct made in an attempt to reconstruct the truth. The film never claims that “This is how it was.”’ — MH


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Amour (2012)
Amour will, I believe, take its place alongside the greatest films about the confrontation of ageing and death, among them Ozu’s Tokyo Story, Kurosawa’s Living, Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, Rosi’s Three Brothers and, dare I say it, Don Siegel’s The Shootist. It’s worthy of being discussed in the same breath as the novels and plays of Samuel Beckett, of which Christopher Ricks wrote in his bitingly perceptive Beckett’s Dying Words: “We know about our wish to go on being, we human beings, our wish not to die. Samuel Beckett, who rigged nothing, fashioned for himself and for us a voice, Malone’s, at once wistful and wiry: ‘Yes, there is no good pretending, it is hard to leave everything.’ These are the accents of a consciousness, imagining and imagined, which braves the immortal commonplace of mortality.”‘ — Philip French


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Happy End (2017)
Happy End unfolds in short, oblique scenes, including a number of video recordings whose authorship is either mysterious (à la Hidden and its unlabelled videotapes) or purposefully disembodied (as in security footage of an industrial accident). Context is absent; exposition is non-existent. This return to form(alism) is self-conscious, and one way to read – and quickly dismiss – Happy End is to characterise it as a greatest hits album of sorts, with all the old Haneke classics, from sociopathic teens and monstrously self-involved bourgeois parents to class warfare, racism and assisted suicide in one handy tracklist. Such a characterisation, while not inaccurate, ignores the subtle but significant shift in the material towards a lighter, though hardly benign, seriocomic tone.’ — Adam Nayman


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p.s. Hey. ** Misanthrope, It’s an angle. The kiddos just need to be indoctrinated in Halloween goodness then nature will take its course. Ha ha, I can’t believe that I remember that ‘Gilligan’s Island’ episode but I do. Enjoy the pay, man, and the work too if necessary. ** Dominik, Hi, D! Yeah, they made it through. Just had to delete a couple of boners and a fist-in-an-ass pic. I’m not on Instagram but, based on Facebook’s suggestions and targeted ads, they really don’t get me at all. Like I must have clicked on a link related to The Killers out of boredom or something at some point because now Facebook thinks I must be interested in every tiny career move they make. If my last love wish comes to fruition, toss me a little slice so Zac and I can make our movie, ha ha. Aw, now that’s some perfectly targeted and kind love from you right there. Every drag artist you love standing in a huge crowd on the street below your window singing your favorite love song at the top of their lungs, Dennis. ** justin, Hi, Justin! Oh, cool, you found the book. Let me know what you think of it if you remember and feel like it. It was really nice to get to interact with you for a minute during the Zoom thing. Hopefully the first of many future tete-a-tetes. Obviously, feel way more than free to come in here and hang out whenever the mood strikes. It would be a total pleasure. Take care. ** David Ehrenstein, You managed to post! Everyone, Mr. E’s new FaBlog thing is called ‘A Feces in The Crowd’, and it seems to be about the most horrible you-know-who in the world. Here. ** G, Hi Golnoosh! I think you’ve hit on something with loonyhole. Should we set up a Zoom workshop for him? My toe improves albeit extremely gradually, thank you. Yes, you must come visit France as soon as hell on earth lifts! Aw, thanks about ‘The Weaklings (XL), and thanks to Mr. Moore too if he’s out there. What does your teaching involve? Stress aside, is it interesting and promising so far? ** wolf, W-w-w-w…! I saw the Celmins retro in San Francisco. I know it was in NYC too, not sure where else. I don’t think it’s scheduled for a Paris visit, but who knows these days. She’s a friend of mine, although I haven’t seen her in a long time. But when I lived in NYC I used to visit her and hang out a lot. She’s wonderfulness incarnate and a real toughy at the same. Great combo, you will surely agree. I think every museum in Paris is now open except for the Jeu de Plume which doesn’t open until next April for some unknown reason. Oh, envy on the Steve McQueen show. I really like his videos, much more than his feature films, at least so far. Did you see the double sided one with the Jamaican guy on the boat shown on one side and his grave being dug shown on the other? That was incredible. I can imagine how a gym could keep one sane even though I don’t even really know what one looks like inside, although I suppose it’s a fairly easy guess. ** Ian, Hi, Ian! Stuff is reasonably okay in Paris. Oh, shit, you’ve gone red. We have too, actually, but France is being not so hardcore in its punishment, at least not yet. Ugh. Pozzing is a thing, and pretty popular based on my slave/master searching, but, if I had to guess, I think the reality could easily be that a large majority of the Pozzers/Pozzees are on secretly Prep, and that it’s more of a psychological head trip fetish than an actually endangering one. But I don’t know. I’m not a huge DeLillo fan, truth be told. I think ‘White Noise’ was the last of his books that I fairly fully liked. I greatly prefer the earlier books leading up to that one when he was still pretty economical and less sort of show-offy. I haven’t even tried the most recent couple or few. Yeah, even when I have issues with his work, I’ve never thought a book of his was as anywhere as ugh as ‘The Corrections’. I share your ‘yawn’ big time, which can’t be surprising. Great about your traction re: ‘Routine’. Do you think you’re quite close to the finish line? Great to see you! ** Armando, Hi, A. I’m pretty good, thanks. Toe is very, very slowly seeming to be less painful. I’m not going to put my address here, but I can give it to you by email or Facebook message or something. ** Steve Erickson, I thought that was pretty inspired too. I assume QAnon’s thing for my blog was an extremely passing fancy. Haven’t seen or heard of a peep from them vis-a-vis here in months. Hm, I think the people you know who uncharacteristically like ‘LA’ must dislike his stuff for the wrong reason. It’s definitely meant to be far better seen in a theater, yes. New song! Thank you! Everyone, Mr. Erickson has added to his growing roster of musical accomplishments thusly. Steve: ‘I finished another new song, “I Am A Normal Person”. I’ve been planning to work with samples from ASMR videos for a while, and I finally did it here. I took a sample of a woman saying “oh my god” repeatedly (which was heavily processed in the original video already) and edited it in software so that the voice becomes another instrument instead of a delivery system for words. The also comes from another sample from that video.’ ** Right. The other day I realised I’d never made a Haneke post for strange, unknown reasons, so I have rectified that situation today. Love him or hate him for ‘don’t care’ him, there it is. See you tomorrow.

12 Comments

  1. Armando

    hey,

    i hope the recovery process goes as well and smoothly and painless as possible.

    YAY! I FUCKING LOVE HANEKE!!! ‘THE SEVENTH CONTINENT’ is my Seventh Favorite Film Of All Time. ‘Time Of The Wolf’ has one of the very greatest endings in Cinema History. ‘Code Unknown’ is a lot of fun and has some very true things to say that are taboo in this PC, SJW society we live in. ‘Happy Ending’ is just Sublime. It must be somewhere in my 33 Favorite Films Of All Time List.

    Man, im so fucked up on 24mg of xanax and lots of pregabaline. lol.

    so, that lux aeterna thing is just the two actresses in very long takes with 1 half of the screen for each one and then at the end some kind of shit hits the fan and madness takes over? or how is it? i severely disagree on your opinion of the director of that film. *KUBRICK* and *BUÑUEL* and BERGMAN and His Illuminated Excellency The Chosen Child KENNETH ANGER and ARRABAL and The Great FASSBINDER did all that decades before and infinitely better. so my description of this lux aeterna thing is accurate or what is it like? what happens? lots of long-ass takes? it seems i could like another film by that director besides ‘CLIMAX’. though i doubt very much itll ever be available on bluray/dvd… that fucking sucks. IT SUCKS SO MUCH.

    ok, ill send you an email to which you can respond with your address 🙂

    all the best,

    FUCKING MILLIONS OF HUGS,

    I love you so fucking much, my dear friend. I really really do. uve no fucking idea

  2. Armando

    hey,

    ok, check your email, PLEASE

    thank you.

    HUGS.

  3. Misanthrope

    Dennis, I do enjoy the pay, of course. But I actually enjoy the work. It’s strangely fun and the people I work with are great. We’ve got a bunch of new people starting, and that makes it fun too.

    Yes, Halloween inurement, so to speak, hahaha.

    I’ll try and find something we’ll all enjoy.

  4. _Black_Acrylic

    I’m no fan of Haneke but did enjoy the Piano Teacher a whole lot, maybe because of Isabelle Huppert’s performance most of all. Valie Export was originally set to adapt the novel and it would have been interesting to see her take.

    The latest task from my writing group is a reply to the letter I sent a few weeks ago for Murder at the Royal Regatta Afterparty. So that requires some Agatha Christie-style plotting and I’m hoping it will be a fun thing to work out.

  5. G

    Dennis, I’m extremely excited by this post! It’s almost as thrilling as the idea of you and I giving a workshop to loonyhole hahaha. I LOVE the fact that Haneke suggested only Isabelle Huppert should play Erika Kohut. I couldn’t agree more. Even the thought of any other actor playing Erika Kohut fills me with dread. Isabelle Huppert on the other hand… I love how she says she didn’t need any preparation for the role. It all makes so much sense… Do you also love the novel? I love the stills you’ve picked although I’m slightly surprised the scene of the little boy holding the shotgun in the original version of Funny Games isn’t amongst your picks. I’m pleased the deleted scenes from Benny’s Video were deleted… the importance of cutting… Amazing transcribed interview with Haneke! Were you the interviewer?

    Yeah, I mostly find my teaching practice inspiring, apart from the hellish admin bit and the exploitation aspect, which hopefully will lessen as I gain more and more experience… I especially like my CW teaching for this specific uni, as they gave me complete control over what texts to teach, so no more HillZ Like wHite ELePhants… In March, I dared to play ‘3:45 AM’ in a lecture on film poems. I admit I was slightly hesitant at first, and consulted with some other people, and they were like maybe it’s too much to be shown in a UK uni, but it turned out despite the initial scary silence, the students also loved it and we had a lively discussion about making words into moving images and they ended up producing some interesting stuff too. Anyway, thanks for the constant inspiration! xxx

  6. Brian O'Connell

    Hey Dennis,

    Brian here. Overjoyed at a Michael Haneke Day. I’ve only just started getting into his work this year, with “La Pianiste” (Isabelle Huppert!) and both versions of “Funny Games”, but I’m sold on the strength of those alone. (The original “Funny Games” may have even entered my all-time favorites.) I think he might the most ethically-minded director I’ve encountered when it comes to the representation of violence. Not sure where to go next with his filmography, although given this post “The White Ribbon” sounds particularly enticing. Do you have a personal favorite of his or anything?

    Also happy to see that the issues seem be resolved with the escort posts. Yesterday’s was really something. Russian cannibal sex cults! Crazy. I hadn’t realized that the Q*non people had ever targeted your blog. Glad to hear that they’ve backed off. They’re a constant presence on Twitter, and the influence they continue to garner (especially here in the States) is highly concerning. Scary times all around.

    Sending best wishes with regard to your toe, hope all is well, etc. Happy first of October!

  7. Steve Erickson

    I really run hot and cold on Haneke. THE SEVENTH CONTINENT, CODE UNKNOWN & CACHE are brilliant, but the more he climbs on his lecture podium the less I trust him, especially because he’s so disinterested in criticizing his own sadistic impulses while telling the audience we’re awful people for indulging ours. I wish he’d make a straightforward horror film with no attempt to convey an explicit message, but he says he hates the genre, even though FUNNY GAMES has wound up becoming an influential landmark within it. (Sitting through the American remake was truly a painful experience, and not because I found it terribly disturbing or because it led to a moral reckoning with my voyeurism.)

    For my next song, I plan to return to ASMR videos and try to build a percussion track around samples of their sound effects. For instance, the vocals in my last song were taken from a series of videos made by a woman about her hydroponic gardening hobby. If I can isolate it, I’d try to use the sound of her clicking garden shears and make it sound like a hi-hat.

  8. Dominik

    Hi!!

    I think I’ve only seen The Piano Teacher but now I really feel like watching Funny Games. The ’97 version.

    I can’t say I don’t feel a little bit sorry about the boners and fisting pictures but it’s still a bearable compromise, haha.

    Same here. About the Facebook ads and the articles my phone throws at me every day. I understand why they might think I’m interested in some of them but what’s my connection to pieces like “you won’t believe what this snake did”, I have no idea.

    It’s a deal, goes without saying. If I magically come to own a billion Euros, I’ll send you enough to finance the entirety of your next movie!

    Ah, that would be a sight! Aquaria and Charity Kase and Adore Delano and Dollya Black and…! Love listening to Cheap Trick instead of writing homework, D.

  9. Bill

    All the Haneke goodness today, yow. My favorites are probably Cache and Amour. Still haven’t seen Happy End; what did you think?

    Another fine slave carousel yesterday. GIJoe, that’s too funny. Do people use tea lights anymore?

    We had quite a few days of fresh air, but things have gotten dicey again. Ah well.

    Bill

  10. David Ehrenstein

    J’Adore Haneke, especially “Cache,” “Amour” and the U.S. version of “FunnyGames.” Despite his fearsome persona he’s a Terrible Sweetie in real life.

  11. Nick Toti

    Hi Dennis! Great Haneke post. I haven’t thought too much about him in years, but he was one of my favorites during a pretty crucial period in my personal-taste-development. For some reason, I’ve seen his remake of Funny Games like 10 times. Maybe I’m just friends with a lot of Michael Pitt fans.

    Do you know the author David Shields? He saw my KILL KOBEK KILL movie and contacted me about adapting one of his books. That’s shaping up into something that should hopefully be pretty interesting.

    Try to stay sane without the catharsis of home haunts this season…

  12. Armando

    Hi,

    I sent you an email so you could send me your address.

    Best,

    a

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