Friday, December 07, 2007

He Got (Funny) Game

Director Michael Haneke has a film coming out called Funny Games, which is an American version of a film he made ten years ago in Germany. From the preview I saw, which came on before a screening of No Country for Old Men (go see that), it looks just as creepy and brilliant as his last offering, Caché.

To see how faithful he's been to his own trailer, compare the new one with the old. As the test-makers of the GRE might put it, we can infer a couple things from this comparison. (A) The American version suffers from Kubrickitis, loosely defined as anything with wanton violence and sick humor must have a jaunty score and 72-point Arial font. And also (B) that Range Rover must have broke Haneke off proper, ya heard!

Haneke, unlike a lot of other filmmakers, can also expound eloquently about the medium itself. Here are the only three quotes listed on his IMDb page. Each one is a gem, especially the last one, which you might recognize as a long overdue revamping of Jean-Luc Godard's rather musty statement about film being "truth at twenty four frames per second":

"Films that are entertainments give simple answers but I think that's ultimately more cynical, as it denies the viewer room to think. If there are more answers at the end, then surely it is a richer experience."

"I like the multiplicity of books, because each book is different in the mind of each reader. It's the same with this film - if 300 people are in a cinema watching it, they will all see a different film, so in a way there are thousands of different versions of Hidden [Mik: Alternate title for Caché]. The point being that, despite what TV shows us, and what the news stories tell us, there is never just one truth, there is only personal truth."

"A feature film is twenty-four lies per second."

By the way, I apologize if my writing is overly turgid today. The big test is tomorrow (see previous posts "All of the Above" and "On Bodily Functions"), and I am trying to think the way ETS want me to: concisely and persuasively. I love how the booklet tells you to "get in, make your points, and get out." Sorry, but I prefer to keep my approach to writing and armed robbery separate.

Ah, well. At the end of the day (which is a cliche that they tell you not to use), there's value in writing, or understanding how to write, the GRE-way. At least it keeps you from ending a post on a great contemporary filmmaker with a word like niggerfaggot. (Or not.)

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