Preview: Zamalek eyeing revenge over depleted Ahly in Cairo derby    Messi nets 2, Barcelona beat Bilbao 4-0 to win Copa del Rey    Libya welcomes UN decision to deploy cease-fire monitors    Morocco's Ziyech fires Chelsea to win over Man City in FA Cup semi-final    France reports daily decline in COVID-19 patients in intensive care    Egypt to launch artistic Ramadan Nights Festival    MCDR to start board nomination procedures on Sunday    Sudan wants legally binding agreement on Ethiopia's Nile Dam, not war: Al-Burhan    Egyptian architects win UNESCO competition to rebuild Mosul's Al-Nouri Mosque    Tunisia closes schools until April 30 to slow spread of coronavirus    Egypt's Environment Minister witnesses closing of training on sanitary landfills    Egypt demands fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines    Egypt launches technical competence programme for Higher Education Ministry staff    'El-Malek' series resumes filming following outcry    Egypt's Cultural Development Fund begins Ramadan programme    Five people killed as police fire at protesting workers in Bangladesh    Egypt joins JPMorgan Chase government bond index watch list    Egypt, Pakistan may sign an MoU between Suez Canal Authority, Gwadar Port Authority    Funeral to praise Philip's 'courage' and support for queen    Egypt urges dissuading Ethiopia from taking unilateral action on GERD in letter to UNSC    Biden says Iranian enrichment to 60% unhelpful, but glad about talks    Sisi stresses to Djibouti president importance of reaching GERD settlement to avoid regional instability    We will resort to international community after all GERD negotiations finish: Egypt FM    President Sisi supports Eni expanding operations in Egypt    10 emerging writers receive $50,000 Whiting Awards    J.K. Rowling children's story 'The Christmas Pig' out in October    2 crew members of impounded Ever Given allowed to return home for personal emergencies: Suez Canal Authority    Egypt condemns continued attacks by Yemen's Houthi militias towards Saudi territory    Turkey to send delegation to Egypt in May, its foreign minister says    EFG Hermes determines fair value of Arab Investment Bank at EGP1.1bln    SODIC hires Hermes to study acquisition offer by Aldar Properties    Veteran Egyptian journalist Makram Mohamed Ahmed passes away at 86    Fans allowed at opening match of UEFA EURO 2020: Italy    Egypt halts traditional amateur football tournaments during Ramadan    Al Ahly get ready for fierce league clash against Zamalek    Egypt Press Syndicate condemns Health Ministry's alleged media obstruction    Egypt tourism minister discusses preparations for upcoming Arabian Travel Market with UAE    Egypt, Turkey eye new phase of bilateral relations    Egyptian farmers fearful as Ethiopia goes for 2nd Blue Nile dam filling    Party consensus    Russian FM says Egypt is main partner in Middle East, Africa    Egypt sees an uptick in new coronavirus infections registers 801 new cases on Saturday    PMI moves towards a smoke-free transformation, takes part in a webinar on e-cigarettes    Allianz Egypt partners with IGNITE to equip brand ambassadors for 2021 Olympics    Hassan Allam consortium wins contract to manage, operate Grand Egyptian Museum    Enhanced Labs signs Mr. Olympia 2020 "Big Ramy" And His Trainer Dennis James    King Tutankhamun funerary mask is must-see tourist icon: The Telegraph    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Wild games
Published in Ahram Online on 17 - 11 - 2020

The Panorama of the European Film would have been taking place some time this month. But, though the El Gouna Film Festival (23-31 October) was held only a month after its slated date and the Cairo International Film Festival is being planned, Covid has postponed the event to 13-22 January, as Zawya Art House, its organisers, announced this week. In the meantime, to tide us over, a retrospective programme of films by the Austrian director Michael Haneke is being held 13-30. The first week featured four iconic films: Funny Games (2007), Amour (2012), The Piano Teacher (2001) and Caché (2005).
Born in 1942 to a German theatrical director and an Austrian actress, Haneke studied philosophy, drama and psychology at the University of Vienna and worked as a theatre director before making his debut The Seventh Continent in 1989. He has since been recognised as one of the greatest artists cinema has known. Dealing with social isolation, melancholy, detachment, ferocity and dysfunction, his films – made in French and English as well as German – are both realistic dramas and provocative, unsettling statements on the contemporary human condition.
In Funny Games, a well-off American family – Ann (Naomi Watts), George (Tim Roth) and their preadolescent son Georgie (Devon Gearhart) – are accompanied by their golden retriever as, their fancy four wheel-drive towing a boat, they make their way to their holiday home in Long Island. A seemingly ideal existence, the family vacation is disrupted when two young men, Paul (Michael Pitt) and Peter (Brady Corbett), appear at the door asking if they might borrow four eggs. Ann saw them at the garden of some friends' house, and though those friends were acting strangely there is no reason not to trust that they are young golfers belonging to the same class and that they mean what they say. Polite and well spoken, they are dressed in white shorts and sweaters and canvas shoes and for some reason also white gloves.
Funny Games
Before long what starts as a brief squabble with George leading to a serious leg injury has developed into a hostage situation in which the two boys terrorise and torture the family for hours on end in the interest of “fun and games”, only to leave all three of them dead and move onto the next family. They refuse the offer of money, and appear to be motivated by sheer evil. Unlike a horror or crime film, Funny Games proceeds as a drama and builds up its incredible tension not so much from suspense but from a fascination with evil itself. Haneke never gives a reason for the evil he depicts, leaving it up to the audience to make sense of what's happening.
His Palme d'Or winning The White Ribbon (2009), set in a small German village during World War I, exposes the horror underlying patriarchal society by way of referring to the horror to come. Told by a schoolteacher who witnessed the events as a child, the story defies explanation even by its teller. When the village doctor falls off his horse because someone set up a trip wire, a series of crimes – burning barns, murdered children – begin to occur, and the evil underlying an apparently stable and secure life prefigures Nazism.
Likewise Cache, starring Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil: its premise is how a peaceful couple might be terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes found on their doorstep. But perhaps Haneke's simplest statement to date is his second Palme d'Or winner, Amour (2012), set in Paris and focusing on an elderly French couple. Starring two brilliant actors, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, the film opens with a shocking scene is an apartment door is smashed open and firemen enter and look around until, struck by the smell, they find the corpse of a lady in bed.
The White Ribbon
The action moves back to show Georges and Anne, former music teachers, having breakfast together. While talking to his wife, Georges suddenly notices she is completely frozen in her chair: when she comes to Anne cannot remember what happened, and it later becomes clear the problem is serious as she pours tea outside her cup for example. Even as he depicts Georges's love for Anne, Haneke reveals the coldness in the couple's relationship and especially how alienated their self-centred daughter is from them, refusing to show any attachment even during her mother's surgery. That is how, as the situation becomes more and more unbearable, Georges makes the impossible decision of ending his wife's life...

*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 November, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Clic here to read the story from its source.