Close Up

9 - 16 July 2022: Happy End


Happy End
Michael Haneke, 2017, 107 min
French with English subtitles

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. Anne (Isabelle Huppert) oversees the business now that her embittered father Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is unable to cope; her doctor brother Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz), meanwhile, is getting reacquainted with his teenage daughter since his ex-wife’s overdose. Indeed, everyone in the family seems frustrated or lonely… 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. The refugees and poor? Seldom seen, constantly there… Superbly performed, this is formidably intelligent filmmaking.” – Geoff Andrew

Screening as part of our Tribute to Jean-Louis Trintignant