Haneke Presents New Book, Calls Directors Enjoying Their Old Films 'Retards'
All of Haneke's films are discussed in detail, including his Oscar-winning Amour, while also offering some rare insight into the private life of one of the most accomplished directors in modern cinema. Haneke himself also appeared at the Filmmuseum and discussed many aspects of the book and his approach to his work in general.
The Austrian director stated that he tries to avoid watching his early work: "A director who enjoys watching his old stuff has to be a retard." Haneke seemed to enjoy the evening which also featured a screening of one of Haneke's films for television called Lemminge: Arkadien. It was a rare opportunity to get a glimpse of how the precise style of Haneke evolved over the last thirty years.
The telemovie is about young adults finding their way in the late 50s in a small town close to Vienna. Though being a television work the film offers some great cinematic moments and shows the abilities of a young director heavily influenced by the likes of Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson. Haneke is not afraid of making one feel bad in the best possible way and he presents human weakness in a quite unique fashion. The roughness of this early work adds to its charm.
There were also some interesting issues raised by the director of the Filmmuseum, Alexander Horwath, during the discussion with Haneke before and after the screening. He talked about the current generation of film lovers who tend to stick solely to movies instead of reading books and literature about them, too. The topic raised here is part of a bigger discussion that argues that cinephile culture leaves the film theatres and goes online more and more.
Haneke also commented that working in France feels like "a paradise for filmmakers" because difficult screenplays are much more likely to be produced. In France people would accept film as a cultural artifact as opposed to simply entertainment. The evening at the Filmmuseum Austria itself was paradise for film lovers and the discussion was vital.