Not necessarily in a bad way; filmmaking is to a large degree an art of control. Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg can all, with some justice, be accused of sadism, a charge that hardly detracts from — indeed, that helps to explain — the way they provide entertainment. Paul and Peter, we understand, are not just perpetrators but spectators as well. Have they become the audience, or were they the audience all along? The final close-up, of Paul staring and smiling into the camera again as he prepares to attack his next victims, is no longer a confrontation. By contrast, the portrayal of the family is quite realistic. Anna’s reaction to the two invaders goes from politeness to suspicion quickly, but Georg, arriving late on the scene, initially fails to understand her alarm.

So, of course, do countless other movies, though few of them can claim this one’s artistic pedigree or aesthetic prestige. Michael Haneke, an Austrian auteur who has worked for many years in France, has always been more interested in punishing his audience than in entertaining it. His scrupulously constructed, skillfully made films, many of which have won prizes at leading international festivals, are excruciatingly suspenseful and also, more often than not, clammy and repellent. It is customary to describe film directors who keep a tight rein on their audience’s responses, who coldly and meticulously manipulate emotion, as sadists.

  • Headed back home, where I’ve got to walk the dogs, Chica and Henry.
  • Both used to be car vomiters, but with time, patience and a lot of paper towels they’ve gotten used to it.
  • It helps when we stop for regular charging breaks every couple hundred miles.

She seems to understand, better than anybody else, that they cannot be dealt with rationally. By stringing us along in this way, Haneke reveals the unnerving lie that governs the spectacle. For it is not the victims’ side that we are on but the perpetrators’. But as much as we may imagine that we’re aligned with the victims,Funny Gamesdares to suggest that the opposite is true. Even as Paul asks us if we are on the family’s side, through the very retro video game emulator act of addressing us—not to mention his cheerfully conversational manner—he makes us his secret sharers. What makes "Funny Games" different than any other campy-scary horror movie that gets off on tormenting its characters and teasing its audience?

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Explore the history and people who run Cinema/Chicago & join the team. Virtual CinemaA curated selection of films streaming virtually for a limited time only. His would-be killer’s reply — “What about entertainment? ” — carries beyond the screen, where the voyeuristic masses are implicated in the gruesome spectacle of senseless cruelty. I started out by calling Mr. Haneke a sadist, but it seems to me that he may be too naïve, too delicate, to merit that designation, which should be reserved only for the greatest filmmakers.

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In his actions, we see the familiar figure of a man eager to avoid conflict. To some extent, he continues in that vein even after Paul beats his leg in with a golf club. ThroughoutFunny Games,Georg remains curiously subdued. But we also sense that he perhaps thinks he may eventually be able to reason with these lunatics, or at least buy his family some time. Anna, though no match physically for the two men, is far more resistant.

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