Haneke Ranked

At its best, film should be like a ski jump. It should give the viewer the option of taking flight, while the act of jumping is left up to him.

– Michael Haneke

Along with Schubert, Romy Schneider, Helmut Berger, Christoph Waltz, and vienna sausage — I refuse to include The Terminator — Michael Haneke is one of Austria's national treasures.

(Just some trivia: Haneke is somewhat related to Waltz.)

I often recognize a Michael Haneke movie every time I see one. Abrupt transitions. Random shots of mundane things. Static shots. Isabelle Huppert. Susanne Lothar. Juliette Binoche. The names "Anne" and "George" and their variation. Long shots. And no music, because according to him: "usually music is used to hide a film's problems."

His films often gravitate toward the unapologetic and existential, making us question the purpose of our being, demanding us to face our own demons. Few filmmakers can do such things, in my opinion.

I like the fact that his films can f*ck with your mind without being too difficult, his films' simplicity is enough to complicate the audience.

Below are five of my fave Haneke movies, from most to least fave.

The Seventh Continent, 1989

Haneke's psychologically savage interpretation of life's fatal redundancy, The Seventh Continent saw the emergence of Haneke as a feature film director.

Yet another horror movie that is not a horror movie, The Seventh Continent explores the complexity of mere human existence, showing us how keeping up with life's upkeep can sometimes be a desolate task.

The film has the ability to make us question our own existence. It makes you ask questions like: Why the hell are we here? What's the point of living through our routine? What's the purpose of our being?

You know, simple questions that most of us can't seem to answer in a simple manner.

We only see the facets of the family's life, so we aren't given full explanations as to why they did what they did. Haneke's film simply says, "Sh*t happens."

More on this here.

Clip shows one of the best scenes ever filmed. An excerpt from the film:

Caché, 2005

There is just as much evil in all of us as there is good. We're all continuously guilty, even if we're not doing it intentionally to be evil. Here we are sitting in luxury hotels, living it up on the the backs of others in the third world. We all have a guilty conscience, but we do very little about it.

– Haneke

Georges Laurent (Daniel Auteuil) was a spoiled brat who terrorized a poor orphaned boy. Now, his past comes back to haunt him.

Languid like a usual Haneke movie, Caché incorporates a CCTV point of view, inviting viewers to stalk the Laurents and scrutinize their seemingly pristine life.

More on this here.

An excerpt from the film:

Amour, 2012

The film is about Anne and Georges (Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant). They have been a couple for a very long time now. All is well until Anne had a stroke. And their ultimate love for each other is put to the test.

The definitive Haneke. Amour stands out as the most intimate of Haneke's works, mainly because of its romantic nature. Blatantly depressing, Amour strips love of its vanity.

Sa mga nag-sasabing walang forever (To those who say there's no forever), they probably haven't seen this film.

More on this here.

"It's beautiful... Life. So long." An excerpt from the film:

The Piano Teacher, 2001

In a career-defining performance, Isabelle Huppert is Erika Kohut, a middle age piano teacher who still lives with her mom (Anne Girardot). Erika is seduced by one of her students, Walter (Benoît Magimel). The mutual attraction they share would eventually propel Erika's obsession on sadomasochistic sex.

For me, this film can qualify as a horror movie. It is creepy because it shows us the horrors of loneliness and repression, making us feel the tragedy of being Erika.

Excerpt from the film:

Funny Games US, 2007

Funny Games US is Haneke's satirical response to cinema's exploitation of violence — how cinema makes violence more acceptable than, say, same-sex love. The film mocks our enthusiasm in seeing death in an entertaining manner.

This American version is basically just a frame-by-frame remake of the Austrian original, also by Haneke.

I prefer this version over the original — mainly because the color is clearer, and Naomi Watts is the film's heroine. (She makes a good horror heroine, in my opinion.)

The remote control scene has been negatively scrutinized by some audiences, especially those who don't get the film's sarcasm.

Excerpt from the film:

DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringement intended. I don't own or claim to own any of the photos used.

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