Born in 1942, it would be 47 years before Michael Haneke made his first film, Der Siebente Kontinent (The Seventh Continent) in 1989. Since then he has stayed consistent to his auteur qualities - austere, clinical, unsettling, and his penchant for an ambiguous ending. The two-time Palme d’Or and Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter, at 75 years old, is one of the most prominent and respected filmmakers still working in world cinema today.
Digging deeper, we find his fixation on middle-class families as the breeding ground for social ailments, and see how the children of these families become products of their parents’ failures when left to their own devices. We also see a director so fearful of violence, he leaves them off-screen. But somehow by leaving it to our imaginations, it feels worse, often leaving his audiences feeling assaulted. And why is that? How does Haneke know to push our buttons and why does he keep drawing attention to these salient points?
Anticipate Pictures, Alliance Française de Singapour and Goethe-Institute Singapore, are proud to present the first retrospective of Michael Haneke’s works in Singapore, followed by the Singapore premiere of Happy End. With Happy End, Haneke seems to tacitly acknowledge that these issues present in his works from the 1990s and 2000s are still around today. Nothing has changed and in fact with the world in a greater state of disarray and paradoxically more connected, these issues are universal and all the more compelling to review than ever before.
Perhaps through Haneke’s films you might glimpse the hope in humanity proffered by the works of Michael Haneke.
We look forward to discovering his oeuvre with you on the big screen.
See you at the movies,
-Anticipate Pictures, Alliance Française de Singapour, and Goethe-Institute Singapore
For purists, one obvious omission from this program is his iteration of Funny Games U.S. (2007), essentially a shot-by-shot remake of the 1997 original, which was made for American audiences whom did not see the original Funny Games. But since we present the original German language edition in this retrospective, we felt it was admissible to omit this entry.
In addition, The Piano Teacher (2001) was unable to pass uncut through the Board of Film Censors. We have chosen to omit screening the film out of respect to the director’s vision. Instead we will screen Michael H. Profession: Director (2013) - a rarely seen documentary on the man, directed by Yves Montmayeur.