Haneke Presents New Book, Calls Directors Enjoying Their Old Films 'Retards'

During an intense evening presentation, the Filmmuseum Austria has presented a new book about Michael Haneke called "Haneke über Haneke" ("Haneke on Haneke"). The book comes out in German via Alexander Verlag. Originally published in France Haneke On Haneke is presented as a long discussion with the director of films like The White Ribbon and Caché.  Michel Cieutat and Philippe Rouyer lead the interview and the book does not hide being inspired heavily by the famous interview of François Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock.

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.

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  • John G.

    Wow, that line, "A director who enjoys watching his old stuff has to be a retard." Seems very unlike Haneke, and in the article just seems stitched in there, with no other regard to the context of what was said or how it was implied, where if you've known the guy's public speaking it just sounds like he's making a generalization upon himself, and possibly improperly phrased or translated. It would be nice of the article to have some elaboration on this.

  • ChevalierEagle

    Another pompous pseudo intelectual hack, like Von Trier, these dbags have nothing to do behind a camera.

  • New? It's been out for a month..

  • Chilly Billy

    I bet he watched his old film when he remade it shot for shot for American audience. What a retard. Oh and Amour was the biggest pile of shit "film" I've ever had the misfortune of sitting through. Fuck off Haneke. Twat.

  • Glenn Whorrall

    Any idea when this might be available in English??

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