Friday, June 20, 2008

Self-Righteous Games

Essay on Funny Games:
... I have some problems with how Haneke describes the project of Funny Games. In interviews, he has time and again said that it is intended to educate its viewers into being conscious of the moral problems inherent in watching horror films. He sees it essentially as a didactic lesson - a commentary on movie violence that will shock complacent horror spectators out of their passive relationship to cinema, restoring their endangered conscience by daring them to keep watching; as he says: “Anyone who leaves the cinema doesn’t need the film, anyone who stays does”.

This seems to me a hugely pious, arrogant, and unintelligent argument, and one that reveals that Haneke doesn’t know very much about horror films or their audiences at all (and he has indeed admitted that he doesn’t watch very much horror cinema).
I didn't care for Michael Haneke's FUNNY GAMES when I saw it years ago, on VHS.

Watching his shot-for-shot American remake on DVD reminded me what I hated about it.

I agree with the linked essay above, though I err on disliking the film. The movie revels in the conventions of the genre while it tries to chastise the viewer for feeling anything for the artifices. It turns pompous and tiresome. Haneke's idea of the passive spectator shoveling down violence like potato chips is ultimately insulting. It flaunts ignorance: about how people watch movies and about how drama works.