Funny Games and Michael Haneke in general...

Tools    





I am having a nervous breakdance
I'm curious...

I know that Michael Haneke's remake of his own Funny Games has premiered in America. I live in Sweden and it will probably not get here before spring.

Has anyone seen it? Has anyone who's seen the original seen the remake as well? What did you think?

Michael Haneke is one of my favourite directors and Funny Games (1997) had an incredible impact on me. Btw, so had most of his films that I've seen and I thought it would be cool if you guys posted your thoughts on the man and his work. He's pretty controversial and it would be interesting to hear all kinds of opinions, the positive as well as the negative ones.

Why I like his films so much is of course because of a number of reasons. But the main theme that seems to go through his body of work is the way he completely dissects the middle class and the bourgeoisie way of life.
__________________
The novelist does not long to see the lion eat grass. He realizes that one and the same God created the wolf and the lamb, then smiled, "seeing that his work was good".

--------

They had temporarily escaped the factories, the warehouses, the slaughterhouses, the car washes - they'd be back in captivity the next day but
now they were out - they were wild with freedom. They weren't thinking about the slavery of poverty. Or the slavery of welfare and food stamps. The rest of us would be all right until the poor learned how to make atom bombs in their basements.



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Funny Games is one of those films I've never quite got the courage to watch yet. I'm curious, though, why would he remake his own film which is only ten years old?



I am having a nervous breakdance
Funny Games is one of those films I've never quite got the courage to watch yet. I'm curious, though, why would he remake his own film which is only ten years old?
In interviews Haneke constantly attacks conventional filmmaking and especially the Hollwood formula which he claims to be too focused on satisfying the audience and its expectations. Funny Games (1997) is the kind of film that not only lacks a happy ending, it lacks apparent logic and explanations to why the perpretators act the way they do. I've read that Funny Games U.S. (2007) is almost a frame by frame remake and I guess he was satisfied with the original but realized the difficulty for foreign films to suceed in America and made an English language version with some known faces. In that way he can reach out to the wider American audience and challenge their view on moviegoing too. Personally I look forward more to the reactions from the American audience than to the film itself (I would have preferred an entirely new Haneke production) even if there's a big risk of the film going by unnoticed because of the indie low budget production.



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Funny, because an American remake of any modestly successful foreign horror film is exactly what you expect these days...



Originally Posted by Piddzilla
I know that Michael Haneke's remake of his own Funny Games has premiered in America. I live in Sweden and it will probably not get here before spring.
You've been misinformed. The Funny Games re-make opens in the U.S. this March. I don't think it even played any of the big festivals like New York or Los Angeles.

It played at the London Film Festival a couple months ago, so ask some of the Brits if they saw it in that exclusive engagement.
__________________
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra



Some thoughts I exchanged with Pyro on Funny games ->Click.

I have since then seen The seventh continent, Benny's Video, 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance, Code Unknown and The Piano teacher. He is without question one of the best European filmmakers. Naturally, I was most impressed with Funny games, but the rest of his filmography is top notch too. The only one that I couldn't really get into was The piano teacher. All of his other films have a clear agenda if you will, this one seemed to lack any discernible point. It was also the only adaptation (of a novel) in his theatrical career as far as I know which may explain it.

I haven't seen Funny games U.S. nor do I plan to in the near future...well perhaps as a curiosity. I eagerly await a proper new release from him...



I just did an essay on Haneke funnily enough, though mostly exploring National Guilt in Hidden.

Adi- surprised you've not seen Hidden actually, being it is most well known film. Where did you see Benny's Video and 71 Fragments because i don't think i've seen them on DVD. And i agree with Pid, he does have a knack for carefully de-constructing the bourgeois middle class, however find his take on formal and narrative conventions in Funny Games to be most interesting, even if i find aspects of it annoying, such as using elements of Brecht's V-Effekt to enlist audience complicity in the violence, it seemed gimmicky.

I'm undecided on his integrity as a filmmaker however, relocating from Germany to France with bigger budgets and now to Hollywood whose conventions he is preoccupied with critiquing. If the film is a the frame for frame remake i've also heard it is, it seems somewhat redundant and imagine most the American audience will miss it (or the point) and will end up seen by the same people who saw the original. Hope he doesn't end up like von Trier, out of ideas after moving more into the Hollywood mainstream.
__________________




Hidden was the first film I saw by him, I listed the films I've seen since I saw Funny games. All of his films, save for The castle (afaik) are out on DVD, I bought the Tartan edition of the "trilogy" and the Kino box set of the rest, including Hidden which I will be viewing right after The time of the wolf...I have to put everything in perspective because the first time I saw Hidden I had no idea what Haneke was about, so the peculiar way of telling the story and a strange ending caught me off guard. Now it's all making much more sense in retrospect...



I am having a nervous breakdance
You've been misinformed. The Funny Games re-make opens in the U.S. this March. I don't think it even played any of the big festivals like New York or Los Angeles.

It played at the London Film Festival a couple months ago, so ask some of the Brits if they saw it in that exclusive engagement.
Ah, right....

I just did an essay on Haneke funnily enough, though mostly exploring National Guilt in Hidden.

Adi- surprised you've not seen Hidden actually, being it is most well known film. Where did you see Benny's Video and 71 Fragments because i don't think i've seen them on DVD. And i agree with Pid, he does have a knack for carefully de-constructing the bourgeois middle class, however find his take on formal and narrative conventions in Funny Games to be most interesting, even if i find aspects of it annoying, such as using elements of Brecht's V-Effekt to enlist audience complicity in the violence, it seemed gimmicky.
I'm unfamiliar with Brecht's V-Effekt. Can you tell me more about it? Does it have anything to do with the scene where they manage to escape and have their revenge on the perpetrators and then the film is rewinded and the plot altered?

I own two Haneke DVD boxes and one of them include both Benny's Video and 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls as well as Der Siebente Kontinent, Haneke's debut for the big screen. I really like his early stuff a lot. They got a lot of really interesting experimental scenes in them.

I'm undecided on his integrity as a filmmaker however, relocating from Germany to France with bigger budgets and now to Hollywood whose conventions he is preoccupied with critiquing. If the film is a the frame for frame remake i've also heard it is, it seems somewhat redundant and imagine most the American audience will miss it (or the point) and will end up seen by the same people who saw the original. Hope he doesn't end up like von Trier, out of ideas after moving more into the Hollywood mainstream.
Yeah, as I said in my previous post, I guess he's doing it because he wants to "teach" the American audience a thing or two. Deep inside I'm sure that Haneke, just like any other European director, would love to make it big in the states. Sure, he wants to beat the enemy on the enemy's own turf, but let's face it; Haneke is an artist and artists got huge egos.

I don't think going for a bigger budget necessarily means "selling out" though.... It takes a lot of money to make movies and a bigger budget is sweet for any director.



I am having a nervous breakdance
Hidden was the first film I saw by him, I listed the films I've seen since I saw Funny games. All of his films, save for The castle (afaik) are out on DVD, I bought the Tartan edition of the "trilogy" and the Kino box set of the rest, including Hidden which I will be viewing right after The time of the wolf...I have to put everything in perspective because the first time I saw Hidden I had no idea what Haneke was about, so the peculiar way of telling the story and a strange ending caught me off guard. Now it's all making much more sense in retrospect...
My boxes include great interviews with the man in which he explains his thoughts and motives for a lot of stuff in the films. Watching them was awesome.



The Fabulous Sausage Man
I found Funny Games rather meh. There's something rather condescending about a film director who feels he's in a position to chastise his audience for sitting through a violent film.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
He may well be "chastizing" and "condescending", but he's also playing with film conventions and enabling his audience to feel "more involved" in the actual content of the film. Of course, he could also very well be pretentious and talking outta his ass. That's what sorta makes him interesting in toto.
__________________
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page



I Have Yet To See The Original, But I Really Liked The Remake Of Funny Games.



Iíve said this before so Iíll say it again. I struggle to understand and rationalize the need for this film to be remade. Particularly more so given that itís a supposedly frame by frame remake. I know that Haneke said it was to bring the film to a wider audience but how successful is that actually going to be? The remake is already released in the UK on DVD and itís been with out much hype, attention or viewing. Even less so than the original. Maybe things will be different in the US. I doubt it although await its reception with anticipation as I think that in itself is the only important/interesting aspect of the remake...



The Fabulous Sausage Man
He may well be "chastizing" and "condescending", but he's also playing with film conventions and enabling his audience to feel "more involved" in the actual content of the film. Of course, he could also very well be pretentious and talking outta his ass. That's what sorta makes him interesting in toto.
I'm pretty sure those unconventionally long takes of his are there to disengage you with the material, and his breaking the fourth wall is obviously not a generic thriller device either. He wants you to critically assess violence in the media, after all - this kind of reflection is meant to take place when the audience is not emotionally 'involved' with the film.



You're a Genius all the time
The American version of Funny Games left quite an impression on me and it would have cracked my 2008 top ten if I wasn't so strongly opposed to the sheer redundancy of doing a shot-for-shot remake of a ten year old film. I haven't seen the original movie, though, or any other stuff by Haneke, so for all you fans, what's the next film I should see of his? Hidden?



I wouldn't say it was redundant, given the American audience's usual resistance to foreign language films (you can bet a lot more people saw the remake than the original). Besides, he made the film as a commentary on American culture more than any other so it's understandable that he accepted the chance to reach his target audience, and he did it by not compromising the original.

I'd say Funny games is his most powerful film so if you're looking for more of the same, you're probably gonna be disappointed. I didn't really like Hidden because it was the first film of his I saw so I wasn't fully on board with his antics (too many ambiguities for my little brain to process) but I figure it's a worthy next step. My next favorite of his, after Funny games, would be his debut The seventh continent, then 71 fragments of a chronology of chance. The piano player was a bit too strange for me but it does feature an amazing performance by Isabelle Huppert. You can look up the plots of all those films yourself, the common theme is that they're all violent and disturbing to varying degrees. If you can get the DVDs listen to the interviews, he's an extremely intelligent filmmaker and eager to explain his motives so watching those was half the experience...

Good luck...



I'd say Hidden would be the most obvious choice but leave Seventh Continent a bit, maybe as it ain't a peach to sit through. I like the Piano Player, it a much more straight forward film then Funny Games or Hidden, not so heavy on the messages or ambiguities respectively. Sadly those are all i've seen. I did prefer the original Funny Games a lot more, maybe it was my memory but thought there were some differences and most didn't work in the remake but i'd wait as long as possible for it to be fresh when watching it.



planet news's Avatar
Registered User
Well, I just had to bring this film up, because a "friend" of mine recently said this was the most offensive film he had ever seen.

And not because of the violence but the didactic forced critique of violence within the film itself by the perpetrators of the violence itself.

I found these "didactic" elements to be very affecting and fascinating in the same way that any good surrealism is fascinating and emotionally/intellectually jarring. I also feel that without these elements the film would have just been seen as a pointless, albeit extremely well-shot, modern exploitation film---much more than anything Tarantino or Rodriguez ever dreamt---complete with an analogous soundtrack of Naked City noisecore vs. opera.

Do I dare coin the term Postmodernist Exploitation???

Any thoughts on this critique? In other words, the choice mark f offered up a few posts back.
__________________
"Loves them? They need them, like they need the air."