Funny Games by Michael Haneke

In “Funny Games,” the provocative and brutal thriller from director Michael Haneke, a vacationing family gets an unexpected visit from two deeply disturbed young men. Their idyllic holiday turns nightmarish as they are subjected to unimaginable terrors and struggle to stay alive.

Remade from his own acclaimed 1997 film, “Funny Games” is written and directed by Michael Haneke (Cach), and stars Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet and Devon Gearhart.

The vacation begins with Ann, George and their son Georgie on their way to their summer home. The neighbors, Fred and Eva, are already there. They make a date to play golf the next morning. Its a perfect day.

Ann begins to make dinner, while her husband and son are busy with their newly restored sailboat. Suddenly, Ann finds herself face to face with a polite young man, the neighbors guest Peter, who has come to ask for some eggs because Eva has run out. Ann is about to give Peter the eggs, but hesitates. How did he get onto their property Peter explains that theres a hole in the fence Fred showed it to him. Things seem strange from the beginning. Soon, violence erupts.

Michael Haneke has devoted his entire career to the exploration of issues of violence and the media.

Hanekes trilogy, The Seventh Continent (1989); Bennys Video (1992); 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994), exposes the consequences of the medias portrayal of violence.

“Funny Games” subverts the genre to allow audiences to observe that violence, and making them complicit by forcing them to see their own role through a series of emotional and analytical episodes.

Explaining Violence

In the belief that explanation would be reassuring, Haneke deliberately refuses to provide any. Im trying to find ways to show violence as it really is: it is not something that you can swallow. I want to show the reality of violence, the pain, the wounding of another human being.

Remake

Recently a friend and critic who recently watched “Funny Games” said to me “now the film is where it belongs.” He is right. When I first envisioned the movie in the middle of the 1990s, it was my intention to have an American audience watch the movie. It is a reaction to a certain American Cinema, its violence, its navet, the way American Cinema toys with human beings. In many American films violence is made consumable.

However, because it was a foreign language film and because the actors were not familiar to an American audience, it did not reach its audience. In 2005, British producer Chris Coen approached me with the idea to do a remake in English. I agreed under the condition that Naomi Watts star in the movie.