Peter Brunette University of Illinois Press, 2010 Library of Congress PN1998.3.H36B78 2010
In this book, Peter Brunette analyzes the theatrical releases of Austrian film director Michael Haneke, including The White Ribbon, winner of the 2009 Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Perhaps best known to U.S. audiences for Caché, The Piano Teacher, and his remake of his own disturbing Funny Games, Haneke has consistently challenged critics and film viewers to consider their own responsibility for what they watch when they seek to be "merely" entertained by such studio-produced Hollywood thrillers.
Brunette highlights Haneke's brilliant use of uncompromising visual and aural techniques to express complex themes. His most recent films contain what has become his hallmark: a moment of violence or shock that is not intended to be exploitative, but that nevertheless goes beyond the conventional boundaries of most art cinema. Lauded for graphically revealing the powerful influence of contemporary media on social behavior, his films offer a chilling critique of contemporary consumer society. Brunette discusses Haneke's major releases in English, French, and German, including the film that first brought him to international attention, Benny's Video. The first full-length study of Haneke's work in any language, this book also includes an interview with the director that explores his motivations and methods.
The two primary goals of this ambitious study are to provide a new framework in which to interpret the films of Michael Haneke, including Funny Games, Caché, and others, and to show how the concept of intermediality can be used to expand the possibilities of film and media studies, tying the two more closely together. Christopher Rowe argues that Haneke’s practice of introducing nonfilmic media into his films is not simply an aspect of his interest in society’s oversaturation in various forms of media. Instead, the use of video, television, photography, literary voice, and other media must be understood as modes of expression that fundamentally oppose the film medium itself. The “intermedial void” is a product of the absolute incommensurability of these media forms as perceptual and affective phenomena. Close analysis of specific films shows how their relationship to noncinematic media transforms the nature of the film image, and of film spectatorship.