Today is Michael Haneke’s 75th birthday and we want to celebrate this date with a few interesting details about one of the latest reference directors of the cinematographic universe.
This year, the Festival is paying tribute to Haneke’s cinema. There is no doubt that the leitmotif, Haneke or The Edge of Horror, is a real statement of intentions and a wonderful reason to explore the limits of the genre.
The premiere of his new film, Happy End, featuring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert and Mathieu Kassovitz, is forthcoming. However, we want to look back to review the works of the Austrian director and writer with this excellent video-clip, courtesy of TCM channel. You can watch a revision of the Austrian director and writer’s filmography with his violent, obscure, disturbing and upsetting style.
The author tells the visceral, raw, basic emotions of the painful tragedy of everyday life where there is no hope for humans. And he does it with no concessions to beauty of cinematographic aesthetics; there is no use of making up an uneasy reality which most of the times upsets the audience whose minds are not hassled very often.
Some Haneke’s quotes
Far from cinematographic common places and with a sometimes insane need of stirring emotions up, here are some of his quotes which summarise the essence of his cinema as well as his vision of life.
It’s the duty of art to ask questions, not to provide answers. And if you want a clearer answer, I’ll have to pass.
I thing that today’s mainstream films are more and more simple and banal and treat the audience as if they were dumb. With this film I want to protest against that. I want them to take the movie-goer fairly and when I shoot a film I try to think of my audience as an intelligent person, not dumb, that’s all.
We do not perceive reality, instead we perceive a TV filtered representation of reality. Our experience horizon has a narrow span. We know just a little more than what the media world shows. We have no reality, instead we have a derivation of reality.
Everything that goes against mainstream thought, and I don’t only mean in cinema, is usually provocative and disruptive. Antithesis to mainstream and conventions is considered provocative and obscene. So I expect all my films to be obscene and provocative.
A feature film is twenty-four lies per second.
In German arts, we had the terrible experience of the Third Reich, when stories and images were used to tell lies. After War World II, literature tried not to do the same, so writers started to think over the stories they told in order to involve readers in their texts. I do the same thing.
I’ve never let producers tell me what to do. Even when I was making television, I always did what I wanted to do, and if I couldn’t, I didn’t do it. It was a freedom that, these days, young directors starting out don’t have.
You can’t avoid manipulation. However, I subdue it to my main objective: provoking and hassling minds.
I think it’s a little simplistic to explain a work through the psychology of its author. In other words, that Haneke has emotional problems, so I don’t have to take his films seriously. By using this argument, the viewer retreats from the challenges of the film.
The 10 most influencial films according to Michael Haneke
Before he got the Príncipe de Asturias award in 2013, Michael Haneke made a list of his favourite films in 2002. There is no doubt that these films have had a clear influence in his way of understanding cinema.
L’eclisse (Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962)
Germania anno zero (Dir. Roberto Rossellini, 1948)
A Woman Under the Influence (Dir. John Cassavetes, 1974)
Psycho (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
The Gold Rush (Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1925)
El ángel exterminador (Dir. Luis Buñuel, 1962)
Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975)
Zerkalo / El espejo (Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975)
Lancelot du Lac (Dir. Robert Bresson, 1974)
Au hasard Balthazar (Dir. Robert Bresson, 1966)
In 2016 the BBC made a list of the best films of the 21st century: 177 reviewers from all over the world chose their ten favourite films and this poll was used to make the top 25 list of films. Two of Michael Haneke’s films are in that list: Caché (18th place) and The White Ribbon (23rd place).
The first time he went to the “Museo del Prado”, in Madrid, he said that whe he got into Goya’s black paintings room he will never forget the commotion I felt. I literally started to tremble and I could hardly stand up. I quickly left the room because I could not resist that.
Since 2006, he has directed several operas, with notorious works in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Cosi Fan Tutte. In May 2014, the darkest interpretation of Cosi fan Tutte by Mozart was premiered at the “Teatro Real” in Madrid.
Michael Haneke claims that audiences are more often impressed by the death of an animal than the death of a human because they assume that people’s passing away in cinema are never real. There are several animal deaths in some of his films: A hen is beheaded in Caché, in Time of the Wolf a horse really dies as well as a pig in Benny’s Video.
If you are among his fans or you want to find out one of modern cinema geniuses, stay tuned with us to learn about the 2017 programme of the Festival which is going to be horrifically promising.