Here’s a novel idea for a film festival: instead of just showing a director’s oeuvre straight, why not throw in a handful of films that complement, or contradict, or just plain go nicely with the main work?
Ciné Lumière is doing just that with a “retrospective in context” of the work of Michael Haneke, the Austrian director who has made a career out of cracking apart the complaisant, cosseted world of the continental middle classes. Ahead of the release of Haneke’s American remake of his own 1997 work, Funny Games, previewed on the opening night, the South Kensington institute has cobbled together the essential films from his back catalogue and cosied them up with some thought-provoking counterparts. Here’s our picks:
Hidden: Haneke’s 2006 metaphorical exploration of European colonial guilt was feted on its release, and garnered a Best Director award at Cannes. It nestles alongside Luis Bunuel’s dinner party-skewering The Discreet Charm Of Bourgeoisie.
Time of the Wolf: Considered Haneke’s darkest film – a damning indictment for a director whose themes seldom rise above pitch black – this post-apocalyptic fable starts bleakly and spirals ever downwards from there. For a truly pessimistic evening, the curators have twinned it with Andrei Tarkovsky’s dystopian masterpiece Stalker.
Funny Games: One to terrify your significant other with, this profoundly disturbing story of torture at a lakeside retreat is almost guaranteed to unsettle for days afterwards, so be warned: this one stays with you. It is sandwiched between Pier Paolo Pasolini’s sadistic Salo Or The 120 Days Of Sodom and Sam Peckinpah’s once-banned home invasion thriller Straw Dogs.
Still image from Funny Games courtesty of Institut Francais