Loading...

Four Films by Michael Haneke 

Wednesday, May 17 2006
Comments

The ripples of unease that emanate from the work of Austrian director Michael Haneke have been spreading ever wider for well over a decade now. Last year, Haneke reached his biggest audience yet with the devastating Caché. This week, Kino releases on DVD three films at the epicenter of Haneke’s reputation as a scalpel-sharp artist of alienation, anxiety and violence: Benny’s Video (1992), 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994) and Funny Games (1997). Haneke’s second feature, Benny’s Video, transforms the bedroom of a 14-year-old boy (Arno Frisch) into an unnerving crucible of contemporary moral and ethical collapse when the titular Benny coolly kills a young girl in his room and his parents cover it up. Based on a true event in which a 19-year-old college student began inexplicably shooting customers in an Austrian bank, 71 Fragments sketches in the quiet desperation of ordinary lives while building to a moment of sudden violence that cuts them short. In Funny Games, the idyllic country retreat of a middle-class family becomes the staging ground for a sadistic assault on cinematic voyeurism after a pair of killers break in and take the family hostage. In each film, Haneke pushes past simply representing violence to explore our mediated relationship to it through the televised images of real-life horror that permeate our everyday lives. News footage of the conflict in Bosnia dominates the background in Benny’s Video and 71 Fragments, underscoring the characters’ numbed, muted response to violence even as it creeps inexorably into their own lives. With Funny Games, Haneke turns the tables on us when the film’s killers directly address the camera to accuse the audience of taking some pleasure from the rush of terror. Indeed, right from his first three features, including The Seventh Continent (1989) (also released by Kino this week), Haneke has consistently raised the stakes on the passive consumption of media images, including his own. Each disc is available separately and includes an interview with the director.

—Paul Malcolm

Other recommended new releases: Battle in Heaven (DVD), The Producers (VHS-DVD).

Related Stories

  • A Quick Food Guide to Bringing Good Luck in 2014

    You can mark a new year with some drugstore bubbly, or you can try ringing in 2014 with a food tradition meant to bring good luck. There's plenty to pick from, whether it's enjoying a slice of vasilopita, a citrus-flavored cake, in Greece or pulling up a chair for media...
  • Petit Trois Opens

    Petit Trois, the long-awaited space next door to Trois Mec, will open tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Owned and operated by the Trois Mec team — Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo — Petit Trois aims to offer  Bar a la Carte, described as the traditional French bar experience.  "I...
  • The Pancake Breakfast Is Coming!

    It's August in Los Angeles. Time to listen to Vin Scully on the radio (here's that Time Warner petition), dream of rain, and get tickets to our Pancake Breakfast. Plan your weekend events and juice fasts accordingly. If you haven't seen the (pink!) artwork on your neighborhood's LA Weekly newspaper box, here's a...
  • SoCal Meets Old World: Stone Brewing Co. and Green Flash Announce Plans to Brew in Europe

    This summer has been full of interesting expansion news from several California breweries, including Lagunitas in Petaluma — which recently opened a Chicago tasting room — and Sierra Nevada, which has an expansive North Carolina brewery that is already releasing product. But none of the announcements made in the last...
  • Great Affogatos

    Among the many excellent mash-ups in the food world, one of the simplest and most blissful is the affogato, the marriage of two of Italy's finest exports, espresso and gelato. The word comes from the Italian affogare, to drown, and it's a pretty accurate summation of the dish, in which...

Also released this week: DVD: Duma; Every Time We Say Goodbye; Grounded for Life: Season Two; Here Come the Brides: The Complete First Season; Hill Street Blues: Season 2; Home Movies: Season Four; Jazz Shots: West Coast, Vol. 1; Jazz Shots: East Coast, Vol. 1; Jazz Voice: The Ladies Sing Jazz, Vol. 1; John Coltrane: A True Innovator; Moldy’s Madhouse; That Girl: Season One; When a Stranger Calls; The White Countess; Writer of O.

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Sun 14
  2. Mon 15
  3. Tue 16
  4. Wed 17
  5. Thu 18
  6. Fri 19
  7. Sat 20

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office Report

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!

Now Trending