Funny Games Directed by Michael Haneke

Haneke's target audience is the American audience that never saw the first Funny Games but – so he claims – urgently needed to. Funny Games US is aimed not at Haneke's art-house following, but at mainstream horror buffs. The hope is that they'll be suckered by the marketing into ingesting Haneke's homeopathic cure for their unhealthy cravings.

Michael Haneke, Funny Games, ..

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Michael Haneke’s sinister hostage drama 'Funny Games' ..

It makes sense to consider Funny Games US less as a remake, more as the screen equivalent of a European stage play's off-Broadway transfer: same production, different language, different cast. As the middle-class parents tormented in their holiday home, Suzanne Lothar and the late Ulrich Mühe are replaced by Naomi Watts and Tim Roth. The two clean-cut, polite, opaquely malevolent youths in tennis whites are Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet.

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Haneke's premise is this: we unthinkingly relish violent cinema, but if we were forced to contemplate the reality of violence and our own morbid complicity in it, then we might be shamed out of our bad habits. Funny Games graphically depicts a family's suffering, and two ghouls presiding over the horror, seemingly just catering to our own thirst for "entertainment". Haneke is not, as some have suggested, a sadist: he's rubbing our noses in our own sadism. He draws us into the action so that we wince out of empathy for the victims – then pulls back, denying us the expected sentimental gratification. The film distances us with abrupt Brechtian tactics: when Pitt first turns to the camera with a conspiratorial smirk, you feel distinctly queasy.

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Violence and Power in Haneke’s Funny Games (2007)

The set- up to both versions is simple in that a bourgeois family is subjected to a torturous ordeal by a couple of ever so polite psychopaths. Moreover, like the original the re- make is a cruel exercise in exposing our fascination with the violence depicted in the media - the "our" specifically meaning the middle classes, comfortable in our existences and oblivious to the horrors of the world. However, Haneke is on record as saying that he always considered Funny Games to be an "American story", as he regarded the use of violence as a form of entertainment to be a specifically American phenomenon. No matter that this is a bit of a flawed viewpoint: having the aggressors seem straight out of the O. C. gives the impact of their sadistic actions an even more discomfiting air. Michael Pitt (charismatic and barbarous) and Brady Corbett (seemingly dopey but utterly vicious) are both excellent, but their performances leave one feeling a bit um "seen it all before". Which takes me back to my first thought: what is the point?

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But in Funny Games Haneke makes the bad guys so repellent ..

Above all, you feel that Haneke hasn't kept up on the genre he's attacking. In 1997, Funny Games came across as a critique of the "home invasion" genre: all those films in which peril was brought to the family hearth by demented babysitters, landlords and ex-lovers. Today, Funny Games US seems an inadequate response to the far more extreme, more specialised, arguably more sophisticated new violence of Hostel, Saw and their ilk. Then again, time and geography bring other changes. The Austrian original inescapably read as an allegory of bourgeois collusion with Nazism. In 21st-century America, the hoods on the victims' heads look like souvenirs of Abu Ghraib.

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Violence and Power in Haneke’s Funny Games (2007)
The paper must discuss the movie Funny Games (2007) by Michael Haneke based on the concepts of violence and power by Michael FOcault and Hannah Arendt.

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Following the success of his Hidden, Haneke has remade Funny Games in the US, in English (the first version having been in German). Otherwise he's changed barely a thing, certainly diluted nothing. Funny Games US is a shot-by-shot, virtually breath-by-breath reconstruction of the original. The country house looks exactly the same; even its grounds appear to have been transplanted in one piece to Long Island. The shocks are positioned in the same places; so is the fridge in the kitchen. The look is still clean, clinical, with new cameraman Darius Khondji offering a slightly brighter, but hardly shinier, echo of the 1997 images. Officially, there are three minutes between versions: rumour has it that the actual difference, presumably allowing for credits, is 20 seconds.