Close Up

1 - 28 February 2018: Close-Up on Michael Haneke


Michael Haneke has established himself as one of cinema's most original, daring and controversial filmmakers. This retrospective brings together eleven of his acclaimed works, including his most recent film Happy End.

"My films are intended as polemical statements against the American "barrel down" cinema and its disempowerment of the spectator. They are an appeal for a cinema of insistent questions instead of false answers, for clarifying distance in place of violating closeness, for provocation and dialogue instead of consumption and consensus." – Michael Haneke

"Haneke’s films all deal in one way or another with modern society’s descent into lovelessness, alienation, and lethal coldness that get passed on from one generation to the next and amplified in the process. He conveys these themes through highly restrained cinematic forms and an austerely mesmerizing spectatorial address. Having worked predominantly in France since the turn of the millennium, Haneke has recently returned to the multi-strain narratives of his early TV work to craft stories that analyze first world social anatomies in relation to the legacy of colonialism and issues of citizenship and migration. At the same time, Haneke continues his quest for new aesthetic strategies to use media violence as a tool to critique media violence." – Roy Grundmann

The Seventh Continent
Michael Haneke
1989 | 104 min | Colour | Digital

Addressing themes that would inform much of his later work – the breakdown of society, violence and the media – Haneke's first theatrical feature is a disturbing portrait of familial disintegration which he describes as a depiction of his native Austria's "progressive emotional glaciation". Set over a three-year period, it documents how the mundane day-to-day routines of a middle class family alienate them from the world and each other until, suddenly and shockingly, their lives self-destruct. The Seventh Continent presents a disturbing portrait of middle class life in a manner reminiscent of early Fassbinder. read more

Benny’s Video
Michael Haneke
1992 | 115 min | Colour | 35mm  

The centrepiece in Haneke’s acclaimed trilogy on actual incidents of unexplained violence, the film tells the chilling story of a teenage boy who videotapes every aspect of his life. As he becomes desensitized to violent televisual imagery, his impulses become fatal in this refreshingly unsensational portrait of homicidal urges. Arno Frisch plays the 14 year-old Benny, who brings a girl home to his parents' empty apartment where he commits a shocking act of casual violence. As with his later Funny Games, Haneke poses provocative and challenging questions about voyeurism and violence. read more

71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance
Michael Haneke
1994 | 95 min | Colour | Digital

Haneke's articulate critique of the isolating effects of western society, the media and television in particular, is composed of an intricate series of unrelated scenes, culminating in an apparently motiveless act of violence. Perfectly paced and executed, Haneke's skilful weaving of these tableaux into a coherent and compelling whole is mesmerising and masterfully composed. read more

Funny Games
Michael Haneke
1997 | 104 min | Colour | Digital

Arriving at their remote lakeside holiday home, a middle class family is alarmed by the unexpected arrival of two young men who soon begin to subject them to a twisted and horrifying ordeal of terror. With characteristic mastery, Haneke turns the conventions of the thriller genre upside down and directly challenges the expectations of his audience, forcing viewers to question the complacency with which they receive images of violence in contemporary cinema. One of Haneke’s most controversial films and one of the most provocative films ever made. read more

Code Unknown
Michael Haneke
2000 | 118 min | Colour | 35mm

The lives of a struggling film actress, a Kosovo War photographer, his wayward brother, a Romanian beggar, and an African émigré come crashing together after a fateful event on a Parisian street corner. Haneke offers a scathing critique of the response to immigration in contemporary Europe in this intriguing, multi-faceted work. read more

The Piano Teacher
Michael Haneke
2001 | 129 min | Colour | 35mm  

Isabelle Huppert gives a performance of astounding intensity as Erika Kohut, a repressed woman in her late thirties who teaches piano at the Vienna Conservatory and lives with her tyrannical mother, with whom she has a volatile love-hate relationship. But when one of Erika's students, the handsome and assured Walter Klemmer, attempts to seduce her, the barriers that she has carefully erected around her claustrophobic world are shattered, unleashing a previously inhibited extreme and uncontrollable desire. read more

Time of the Wolf
Michael Haneke
2003 | 110 min | Colour | 35mm

Time of the Wolf depicts a society in chaos after an apocalyptic event. Laws are now inverted and new values are formed: the strongest man, the one with a weapon, becomes his own judge, jury and executioner. Anne and her children make their way through the suddenly hazardous countryside to a remote railway station, which acts as a refuge for the people in the surrounding area. There they wait for a train which may never come. read more

Michael Haneke
2005 | 118 min | Colour | 35mm

This compelling psychological thriller stars Daniel Auteuil as Georges, a television presenter who begins to receive mysterious and alarming packages containing covertly filmed videos of himself and his family. To the mounting consternation of Georges and his wife (Juliette Binoche) the footage on the tapes – which arrive wrapped in drawings of disturbingly violent images – becomes increasingly personal, and sinister anonymous phone calls are made. In Hidden, Haneke probes the pride, class-consciousness, and racial enmity of a man whose happy, comfortable, middle class family life is turned upside down by a series of intrusive and upsetting events that undermine his life. read more

The White Ribbon
Michael Haneke
2009 | 144 min | B/W | 35mm

Shot in austerely beautiful black-and-white and featuring a sprawling cast of characters reminiscent of a 19th century novel, The White Ribbon marks Haneke’s most ambitious – and unsettling – investigation yet into society’s hidden violence and the evils transmitted from parents to children. read more


Michael Haneke
2012 | 127 min | Colour | Digital

A police unit breaks into a Paris apartment and discover the body of an elderly woman (Emmanuelle Riva). Her husband (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is nowhere to be found. We then jump back in time to one of their last outings together before Anne becomes incapacitated as a result of an illness. What we witness is the cost of love – not the romance of cinema, but the day-to- day activity of caring for another person, no matter the physical or emotional cost. Michael Haneke’s most sensitive film refuses to pull any punches in his depiction of the ageing process, but avoids sensation in favour of empathy. This is deeply humane, profoundly moving cinema. read more

Happy End
Michael Haneke
2017 | 107 min | Colour | Digital

Michael Haneke ingeniously reworks and updates the enduringly relevant themes of all his previous films in one brief, brilliant, sometimes slyly satirical gem. Though set in Calais, Happy End never shows "the Jungle", focusing instead on a construction dynasty seemingly blind to the unfortunates across town. Haneke’s dark, sardonic yet quietly compassionate picture of contemporary life as experienced by complacently well-off Europeans is as formally inventive, morally relevant and psychologically astute as ever, yet its wholly compelling drama is here leavened by bracing moments of absurdist humour. read more