Funny Frames: The Filmic Concepts of Michael Haneke
Oliver C. Speck
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Taking its cues from the cinematic innovations of the controversial Austrian-born director Michael Haneke, Funny Frames explores how a political thinking manifests itself in his work.
The book is divided into two parts. In the first, Oliver C. Speck explores some of Haneke's Deleuzian traits - showing how the theoretical concepts of the virtual, of filmic space and of realism can be useful tools for unlocking the problems that Haneke formulates and solves through filmic means. In the second, Speck discusses a range of topics that appear in all of Haneke's films but that haven't, until now, been fully noticed or analyzed. These chapters demonstrate how Haneke plays the role of "diagnostician of culture," how he reads - for example - madness, suicide and childhood.
Like several other contemporary European directors, Haneke addresses topics considered difficult when measured by the standards of commercial cinema: the traumatic effects of violence, racism, and alienation. Funny Frames is an incisive and original contribution to the growing scholarship on one of the most intriguing auteurs of our time.
is taken as a natural course of events. Fascinated by Haneke’s films and repulsed by the world they are depicting, I chose what I would describe here as a Deleuzian approach, looking for the moving image in Haneke’s concepts in order to circumvent the pitfalls of an emotional entanglement and to arrive at a perspective where the affects that drive his cinema appear. For reasons that become clearer in the course of this book, Haneke’s films resist theory. Perhaps because they are already concepts
different form in many critical assessments of Haneke. The first assumption concerns on the notion of counter-cinema. Wollen wrote his article in 1972, mostly basing his case on films from Godard’s radical period. As the name of Wollen’s concept implies, counter-cinema, as an Anti-Hollywood cinema, is always reactive and as such limited by a negative mode. The critique of Godard that Wollen develops in the final paragraphs shows this misunderstanding: The cinema cannot show the truth, or reveal
above all/Above everything in the world . . . .” The melody is used prominently by Haneke throughout the film to suggest a continuity between Austria and Nazi-Germany. Even though Haneke uses excerpts from the literary source verbatim or only slightly amended for the voice-over narrator, he does not use any explanation of motivations that the novel provides, especially for Andreas’ sudden rebellion, a verbal confrontation with a bourgeois gentleman. In the novel, for example, the narrator informs
Foreign Language Film” (2010) and the 2009 European Film Award. Haneke’s latest film at the time of this writing appears to be a return to a project that he had apparently planned for a long time, a return to German-language film and also a return to several topics from that period.13 The film features several interrogations that closely mirror the interrogation of Evi by the teacher in Der siebente Kontinent that I discussed at the beginning of this section. More so than in most films since Der
witnesses because they are inauthentic. When Haneke violates his audience and forces it to agree to the draconic rules the filmmaker imposes, does he not claim an exception, however slim, for himself? There is, however, an often overlooked exception to the exception in Haneke’s oeuvre: a child is a perfect witness for Haneke. Haneke’s unsentimental portrayal of children is noteworthy here. He takes pains to avoid the impression that we could reclaim their worldview in any way or that children