Michael Haneke – Films that make you think

Austrian director and writer Michael Haneke tests his films audiences through a series or moral dilemmas that are presented to us through a series of ethical decisions made by characters with whom we are forced to emotionally attach ourselves to. Haneke’s films are the types of movies that stick with you and I often describe as being artistically and emotionally powerful. If you have never watched a Haneke film – you definitely should. You will be moved, provoked and prodded to ask the question “what would I do?”.

Haneke’s films fall under the new wave of extremist filmmakers who are apart of the Dogme 95 manifesto. Such film making sought out to purify film making.

Haneke’s films are interesting as they often turn the camera onto the audience. We see consciously and are asked to question the footage being played before us. Below I will present his unique style through the breadth of his filmic work.

  1. Caché (2006)

Caché translating to mean hidden tells the story of a married couple living in an affluent area of Paris. Both of them work as lecturers at an established university. Their careers, along with raising their son seems perfect until a video tape is sent to them. The video records a CCTV footage view of their house, representative of a watching eye. At first they do not fret, however, more tapes begin to appear from inside their home. The film conveys the layered life of … who’s adopted brother haunts his pretence new life. The film unravels to disclose how … was abusive to his Algerian adopted brother and serves as an analogy for the post colonial war in French colonised Algeria. The most interesting aspect of this film is it’s unconscious ability to make us question the materialist world in which we exist soulessley. In a famous scene within the film … is trapped within the confinement of the screen, all around his frame within the pictures books are stacked creating a confined space of which he cannot escape. His wife yells at his disregard for the tapes. In the background we are able to see a television screen which is also confined by the borders of books. The television is playing newsreel about the Algerian war, citizens being murdered and yet nobody is paying attention. Rather, … and his wife carry on arguing. Cache represents an ongoing repel between merged brothers from one origin and from another but also conveys the ways in which

2. Benny’s Video (1992)

If Benny’s video had been made today, it would have been about male adolescences addiction to video games and the horrific influences such media has upon a child’s ethical decisions. Benny’s detachment from the real is spurred on by his inherent interest with

3. The Piano Teacher (2001)

4. Funny Games (1997)

5. The White Ribbon (2009)

6. Amour/Love (2012)


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