Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Daniel Duval, Béatrice Dalle, Patrice Chéreau France/Austria. 1h 53m
Every Michael Haneke film brings something new and settling to the cinematic world. For this round he embarks on a contemporary rendition of the quiet before Ragnarok, where the film get it title from the epic Norse poem Völuspá.
Set in France, in an undisclosed post apocalyptic era, a family are on the run from Paris inner city and decide to trek out to their summer house in the country to try and scratch out an existence, the end of the world is never really disclosed but it’s evident that finding uncontaminated water.
After their hasty exit, the Laurent family rush into the barren French countryside but find that their summerhouse is already a safe haven for a group of strangers who shun and assault them, back on the road without transport or supplies, the seek security in a local village but are turned away yet again, the strain is reflected by some uber strange behaviour from their youngest son, eventually the family heads towards a train station with the hopes that a train will take them and the group of survivors who have gathered there back to Paris.
Haneke has a talent for touching a nerve with his raw and detailed vision of a bleak future, we’re not all that unaware of the apocalypse,the latest trend are terrain littered with infected people, but Haneke prefers the more direct approach, focusing on the broken emotions and social unrest that seems all too real in this project. Taking a lot of influence from, Ingmar Bergman and Abbas Kiarostam, his films are brilliant but remain chilly with their treatment of of his actors, Funny Games (1997) is a great testament to that.
Intellectually and physically the film is quite dark, it’s an incredibly long movie that most will find boring but the end of the world might not be the Romero shoot out that we’re all hoping for. Instead the social breakdown is addressed and the everlasting effect of the human psyche, once the end of the world has kicked in what will really matter? Once all the money, status and privileges have all been erased, what holds influence in the bleak outlook on the end of the world!?
R: Funny Games (1997), Code Unknown (2000), The Dust of Time (2008) ‧
L:A-Z of the Apocalypse
5s: Michael Haneke