Michael Haneke, Funny Games, ..
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.
Discussion: Haneke's Funny Games : TrueFilm - reddit
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.
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?