Austrian director Michael Haneke is a genial sort in interviews, but his films, especially Funny Games (1997),Benny’s Video (1992) and The Piano Teacher (2001) are notorious for their icy, austere look at characters who have gone beyond being simply feeling alienated from the sterility of middle class life to morphing into living emblems of that same hollowness. Many of Haneke’s characters have lost their sense of connection not just with their fellow human beings, but with themselves. To the extent that they can feel it is only through acts of violence against others or themselves.
Director and screenwriter Olivier Assayas’ Irma Vep follows the experiences of a group of filmmakers whose professional and personal lives are touched by Chinese movie star Maggie Cheung, playing herself.
Spanish filmmaker Pedro Aguilera´s debut film La Influencia is structured into two distinctive halves, yin-and-yang style. In the first, silence, depression, pain and finally death prevail; in the second, noise, liveliness, action and the future.
Terence Davies revisits memories of post war Liverpool, this time creating a factual based documentary or visual poem of the city he remembers, using archive material and music to create an ethereal journey through his personal landscape and the influences on him.
Celebrating the work of Hungarian director Miklos Jancso, The Round-Up screens as the first of a short series of films from his prolific 58 year-long career. Hosted by Curzon Cinemas, the event also featured Jancso in conversation and marked the film’s first release on DVD courtesy of Second Run.
The Festival of Austrian Films, The Diagonale, takes place annually in Graz. It was an opportunity to witness eleven recently made Austrian features running in competition. Austria is very much in the spotlight after securing the Oscar for best Foreign Film with The Counterfeiters.
I sat down to watch your film namesake this evening – Derek on More4. I could write about how this in itself is testament to the problem I perceive – many years ago, your films were at least shown on Channel 4. In the film, Tilda writes you a letter – and as you are obviously receiving mail, here is another!
When discussing films, too often undue emphasis is given to vision of the director at the expense of the collaborative and creative efforts of the other key talents who bring their skills to bear on a movie.