CaveGirl

Funny Games

24 posts in this topic

I haven't seen the original, but I saw the English-language remake, also by Haneke, with Naomi Watts and Tim Roth. I read it's a virtual shot-for-shot remake. Maybe the most depressing movie I've ever seen! There is one moment of catharsis, when you think there might be some hope. I saw this in a theater with maybe five other people (it wasn't exactly a moneymaker). And when that moment happened, the other people in the theater all cheered and let out whoops of approval. But then, within seconds, we see this is not going to be that kind of movie, and everything is instantly bleak and doomed again. I guess it was pretty brilliant the way Haneke played with audience expectations about how this sort of film is supposed to go. But, as I say, I walked out of the theater in an absolute funk for several hours afterward.

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20 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

So glad I stayed up late to watch this Haneke film.

Thoughts?

I loved this movie too. Brutal, violent, ominous, silly and humorous all at once. 

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Pretty scary also, the first time the one actor winks at the audience, as if we are in on it.

Thanks, George and Ira fan!

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I've seen both versions. After having read about the original for years, I admit to being disappointed upon first viewing. It's a spiritual ancestor to the lamentable torture porn genre. It's an indictment of that type of film, and those who like them, while also being one of those films itself. The two versions are virtually identical, with the performers being the only notable difference. I can't really say which I liked more. I also can't say that the movie left me moved in any way, other than the feeling that Haneke dislikes his audience. His early films seem to all have a contempt for the viewer, and either go out of their way to frustrate or pass negative judgment on them, something Haneke himself has admitted in interviews. I can't say that's true for either Amour or The White Ribbon though.

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Michael Pitt plays torturer #1 in the English version.

That guy is intensely disquieting when he plays baddies. A peculiar type, he is.

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1 hour ago, darkblue said:

Michael Pitt plays torturer #1 in the English version.

That guy is intensely disquieting when he plays baddies. A peculiar type, he is.

Thanks, DarkBlue!

I haven't seen that version but now I'd like to in comparison.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

I've seen both versions. After having read about the original for years, I admit to being disappointed upon first viewing. It's a spiritual ancestor to the lamentable torture porn genre. It's an indictment of that type of film, and those who like them, while also being one of those films itself. The two versions are virtually identical, with the performers being the only notable difference. I can't really say which I liked more. I also can't say that the movie left me moved in any way, other than the feeling that Haneke dislikes his audience. His early films seem to all have a contempt for the viewer, and either go out of their way to frustrate or pass negative judgment on them, something Haneke himself has admitted in interviews. I can't say that's true for either Amour or The White Ribbon though.

Well, I haven't seen the remake and until reading DarkBlue's post, hadn't wanted to, having had a bad taste in my mouth back in the day, when I watched the American remake of George Sluizer's classic, "Spoorloos" [aka "The Vanishing"]. The original was just so amazing and then I see the horribly vapid remake with Jeff Bridges. Now I know it still had Sluizer as director, and a fine cast but they had so circumnavigated the original's concept that it was a real downer to view. The original still give me creeps, and I can't look at eggs sometimes but that's another story.

I think I would like the original Haneke version more, since I was not familiar with the actors therefore it seemed more real and that made the film's point more visceral. It's not a movie I like, but it is a movie I respect, just like his "The Piano Teacher" which has a knockout punch ending also. Thanks for your reflections!

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1 minute ago, CaveGirl said:

Well, I haven't seen the remake and until reading DarkBlue's post, hadn't wanted to, having had a bad taste in my mouth back in the day, when I watched the American remake of George Sluizer's classic, "Spoorloos" [aka "The Vanishing"]. The original was just so amazing and then I see the horribly vapid remake with Jeff Bridges. Now I know it still had Sluizer as director, and a fine cast but they had so circumnavigated the original's concept that it was a real downer to view. The original still give me creeps, and I can't look at eggs sometimes but that's another story.

I think I would like the original Haneke version more, since I was not familiar with the actors therefore it seemed more real and that made the film's point more visceral. It's not a movie I like, but it is a movie I respect, just like his "The Piano Teacher" which has a knockout punch ending also. Thanks for your reflections!

I agree with you on The Vanishing. Stick with the original. As for Funny Games, both were directed by Haneke (I'm not sure if you knew this based on your wording), and they really are virtually identical. I also concur that the original probably works better on first viewing as you don't know the actors, and thus take them as the characters. Ulrich Muhe, who played the father, later went on to posthumous fame thanks to his lead in the award-winning The Lives of Others. However, if you liked the original, the remake is an interesting watch to see the actors involved. Tim Roth and Naomi Watts as the parents, and Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet as the intruders, are all very good, and although the dialogue is basically the same, their interpretations add some different nuances. 

BTW, I still haven't seen The Piano Teacher. I've wanted to for a long time, but have never gotten around to it. Other than Funny Games versions 1 & 2, Amour, and The White Ribbon, the only other Haneke films that I've seen are Code Unknown and Cache.

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22 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I agree with you on The Vanishing. Stick with the original. As for Funny Games, both were directed by Haneke (I'm not sure if you knew this based on your wording), and they really are virtually identical. I also concur that the original probably works better on first viewing as you don't know the actors, and thus take them as the characters. Ulrich Muhe, who played the father, later went on to posthumous fame thanks to his lead in the award-winning The Lives of Others. However, if you liked the original, the remake is an interesting watch to see the actors involved. Tim Roth and Naomi Watts as the parents, and Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet as the intruders, are all very good, and although the dialogue is basically the same, their interpretations add some different nuances. 

BTW, I still haven't seen The Piano Teacher. I've wanted to for a long time, but have never gotten around to it. Other than Funny Games versions 1 & 2, Amour, and The White Ribbon, the only other Haneke films that I've seen are Code Unknown and Cache.

Yeah, I knew Haneke did the American version also. I probably will seek it out now just as a comparitive enterprise. Shoot, I even wanted to see the shot by shot remake of "Psycho" that came out, and I kind of enjoyed seeing the whole thing for perverse reasons. Now you really should see "The Piano Teacher" as it is a one of a kind film and has some really interesting psychosexual thought patterns that entice and repel, but make for interesting consumption. Thanks for your post!

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2 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

Thanks, DarkBlue!

I haven't seen that version but now I'd like to in comparison.

I haven't seen the remake either but I'll probably watch it too for the comparison. 

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8 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

Yeah, I knew Haneke did the American version also. I probably will seek it out now just as a comparitive enterprise. Shoot, I even wanted to see the shot by shot remake of "Psycho" that came out, and I kind of enjoyed seeing the whole thing for perverse reasons. Now you really should see "The Piano Teacher" as it is a one of a kind film and has some really interesting psychosexual thought patterns that entice and repel, but make for interesting consumption. Thanks for your post!

I may be way in the minority on this, but I saw Gus Van Zandt's shot-for-shot (with a few psychological extra shots) remake of Psycho in the theater (I'll go see anything!), and I thought it was pretty great. Vincent Vaughan (who went on to kind of ossify into a certain type) is creepy as heck, and the other performances are great, too.

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I also enjoy the Psycho remake, but for rather different reasons.  It plays more like a weird experiment than an actual remake, especially since it's not truly shot-for-shot, although it often feels like it.  There are some shots that are subtly different, some that capture what Hitchcock apparently originally envisioned (like the opening helicopter shot through the hotel room window), and some that are just wildly different and new (like William H. Macy's hallucinations during his trip down the stairs!).  The film actively dares us to make comparisons to the original, challenging our memory (wait, did it actually happen like that?), and perhaps even critiquing the remake trend that kicked off in the 90s.  Van Sant states on his DVD commentary that he made the film so that people who don't like black-and-white movies could watch it, and I think that's total BS.  He's too intelligent a filmmaker to do something so puerile, and I do believe he had something else up his sleeve with it.  The performances are probably my least favorite aspects, although I do enjoy Viggo Mortensen's laid-back and somewhat flamboyant take on Sam Loomis, quite a contrast to the sturdy John Gavin.

As for Funny Games, I absolutely hated it (I only watched the original).  As LawrenceA notes above, Haneke has nothing but contempt for the viewer, and I have no patience for that.  The film itself is his game in which he wins no matter how you respond.  If you are turned off by the movie and walk out, then you are reacting exactly the way he wants you to, i.e. the correct response.  If you enjoy the film, then you are exactly the type of person he is indicting with it, you are complicit in the heinous crimes perpetrated by the two young men.  To be clear, I was not offended by the violence in the film because it's so blatantly false and academic.  There's nothing wrong with critiquing the prevalence of violence in the media and the pleasure audiences take in consuming it, but I don't think Haneke understands either one.  It doesn't look anything like the typical violent Hollywood films that he is attacking (which truly backfired on him as I think he expected the English-language version to be a hit--and thus successful attack--with the torture porn crowd yet it failed to attract that audience).  And his attitude toward the viewer is one of a finger-wagging schoolmarm who is only interested in his own point of view and has no desire to engage or communicate with his audience about why violence might be so fascinating and perhaps even attractive in the first place.  I'm being quite honest when I say that Scream 2, released the same year as the original Funny Games, does a much better job with this topic, exploring the way movie violence and real-world violence are intertwined, the role that audience consumption plays in this, and even indicting the filmmakers themselves (director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson) for exploiting violence for personal gain.  Plus it's got Jerry O'Connell singing "I Think I Love You" (badly) on a cafeteria table, which I'll take any day over some murderous twerp winking at me.

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4 hours ago, Feego said:

I'm being quite honest when I say that Scream 2, released the same year as the original Funny Games, does a much better job with this topic, exploring the way movie violence and real-world violence are intertwined, the role that audience consumption plays in this, and even indicting the filmmakers themselves 

Then why is 'Funny Games' so gripping while 'Scream 2' is so boring to everyone but kids? 

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The reason for my sarcasm is that your comment had nothing to do with my assessment except to just dismiss it.  "Gripping" and "boring" are entirely subjective and frankly irrelevant to what I was saying.  What is gripping to one may be boring to another and vice versa.  I never claimed that Scream 2 was a more gripping film than Funny Games, nor did I claim that Funny Games was not gripping.  My point in the comparison was to discuss the effectiveness of their approaches.  With Funny Games, Haneke has a very single-minded view of how audiences should react to and process screen violence.  They should only be repelled by it and not view it.  If they stay for the entire film and enjoy it, they are sadists.  If they stay for the entire film and are disgusted, they are hypocrites.  He believes he is clever in the way that he manipulates the audience and ruptures the illusion of cinema, but he is by no means the first director to do so.  Scream 2 does something quite similar, toying with audience expectations about violence and in its opening scene very explicitly showing the viewer's complicity.  But it also presents a self-critical perspective, looking back at the way Hollywood promotes and exploits violence, something that indicts the filmmakers themselves.  Haneke is not bothered to look inwardly because he sees himself on a higher moral ground than the viewer.  I don't believe either film is a masterpiece of cinema, but one of them actively encourages audience engagement while the other actively mutes it (because Haneke would rather you not watch it).

And I'm not just pulling this interpretation out of my ascot.  Haneke has discussed all of this in interviews and written essays about his reason for making the film.  Here is a snippet of one such interview (Warning: There are some graphic shots from the film):

Look, if you enjoy the film, I'm not here to say that you shouldn't (although, ironically, those who do enjoy it would only be dismissed by Haneke himself).  CaveGirl asked for thoughts on the film, and I gave mine.  I would not call the film boring, or stupid, or any other such dismissive adjective because I genuinely don't think it is any of those.  The film was expertly made by an obviously intelligent man.  I just fundamentally disagree with his contempt for the audience.

I absolutely would be happy to read a spirited defense of the film that goes beyond just saying it's "gripping" while other movies are "boring."

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I really don't see how a movie that's boring can be "effective" at much of anything.

But, hey - what do I know? I don't study movies, I just watch 'em.

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10 minutes ago, darkblue said:

I really don't see how a movie that's boring can be "effective" at much of anything.

The same can be said for empty dismissals.

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1 minute ago, Feego said:

The same can be said for empty dismissals.

I don't watch those. Are they fun?

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7 hours ago, Feego said:

More so than Funny Games.

original.gif

You didn't think that ending was kind of funny? :lol: You expect her to get away with the knife that was placed there earlier but instead they just toss her into the lake with mild disdain. 

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Nope, I was too bored by that point. 😄

tumblr_mbqe3pohpg1qcinkwo1_500.gif

 

For anyone interested, here's a pretty good YouTube video highlighting the visual similarities between the German- and English-language versions.  Haneke apparently used the same house, and while the films had different cinematographers, the original's shots were followed very closely.  (Warning again: Graphic violence is shown)

 

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On 7/11/2018 at 10:13 PM, sewhite2000 said:

I may be way in the minority on this, but I saw Gus Van Zandt's shot-for-shot (with a few psychological extra shots) remake of Psycho in the theater (I'll go see anything!), and I thought it was pretty great. Vincent Vaughan (who went on to kind of ossify into a certain type) is creepy as heck, and the other performances are great, too.

I actually liked it too, SE! Even if it had been bad I probably would have enjoyed seeing a shot by shot remake, just for the anomalous quality, but that version was done well. It would probably never be acclaimed, but who cares. Any "Psycho" fan though should probably find it interesting, just in the shot by shot aspect. It ties in well with that book about the double used for the shower sequences. I think Janet Leigh denied this occurred, but it seems likely from what I've read.

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