In Benny’s Video, reality is what we see, but also what we can manipulate at will. Michael Haneke knows very well where to direct our gaze, simply letting the images speak for themselves and – through monitors that almost act as a ‘filter’ – showing us a distorted world, a sick world.
It is based on a real-life news story 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance. In the film – which is divided into five chapters, each concerning a particular day – everything takes place from October 12 to December 23, 1993. Everything leads up to a single event in which all the characters will be involved in one way or another. But how important is the human being in this feature film by Michael Haneke?
In Michael Haneke’s Amour (Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2012, as well as Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 2013), there is no place for deep reflections on what human beings have become today. There is no place for the inner torments of talented pianists, adrift families or white-gloved young delinquents breaking into rich homes. Now is the time to focus on one of the most complex feelings, in its purest form.
In The Seventh Continent, Michael Haneke’s first feature film, what we observe is the progressive and sudden disintegration of the contemporary bourgeois family, observed and approached in an almost Schnitzlerian style, complete with omnipresent violence that is never really represented before our eyes. A constant theme, this, in Haneke’s rich filmography.
What we see in Happy end is a crescendo of emotions in full Hanekian mode. There are no heroes, no villains, everyone is simultaneously victim and executioner. Including young people.