94 Great Directors: Michael Haneke

“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.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Cache.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Amour.

What Did I Watch: Piano Teacher/Cache.

Where Does He Fit: Having read the original novel a couple of years ago, Haneke’s take on this material was one of the most anticipated films in this project. It did not let me down, but it sure was not gentle. The rich, stereotypically European interiors have been boiled alive by Isabelle Huppert giving a performance that stands right up to her work in Elle. Annie Girardot and Benoit Magimel are certainly enough in terms of support, but she does not even need it thanks to the unusual audio bridges that are the one case of formal deconstruction that Haneke brings to the table this time around.

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How Michael Haneke wreaks the tricks that he plays in Cache is deeply unsettling. Just what are we supposed to be looking at when watching this couple slowly fall apart? Even the typed opening credits are slightly indecipherable. Girardot is once again unnervingly intense, but the couple played by Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil are the stars that the director needs them to be: ordinary in a way that fits the razor sharp formal tricks that get played on us very slowly and calmly. Funny how the director’s two best works are his most formally tricky and his most seemingly ordinary.

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Most Valuable Asset: Full awareness of humanity being vile.
Most Excited For: Code Unknown.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: Half of my favorite cinematic pair, Jacques Demy.

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