Thursday, February 12, 2009

Player 1: Level 2

I won't disagree with the fact that Haneke was preaching to the audience on their viewership habits. But he wasn't preaching anymore than Welles, Hitchcock, Godard, Dogma film, etc. Film can be read as a text, but is it right or fair of us to put it in the same boundaries as literature? [I have very conflicting opinions on this question- so I'd really enjoy knowing what some other thoughts out there are on it] The idea that Haneke is pointedly showing (and mocking the audience, breaking the 4th walls) the audience that they don't have a choice in the direction of the film is an interesting one. The audience has never had a choice in the way a movie ends when they are sitting in their $8 a ticket seats. Films are formulaic, and as such they all have predetermined endings. Auteur theory lends itself to the notion of predetermined story lines too. Watch one Hitchcock film and you've seen them all. Watch one Godard film, and you've seen them all. Watch a Lucas/Speilberg, Lynch, Wes Anderson've seen them all. So I can't agree completely with the idea that audience has the ability to choose the direction of the film. 

Joe mentioned the idea of detachment pertaining to Paul making a sandwich while Georgie is murdered. One point of the film is detachment.....detachment of the audience with the 24fps playing out before them. Desensitized, detachment- whichever word one deems best suited for this, Haneke is causing the audience to be self-aware. I think that's one reason why people had such a hard time digesting this film. Something was out-of-sorts, and whether one could pin point it or not, it is the idea of self-reflexive viewership. 

Then the idea of ratings, namely the MPAA, was brought to table. Okay- I'll save my rants about the MPAA and how Hollywood is up there in the ranks of worlds most corrupted political system, and suggest that you watch the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated. Very interesting look at some of the mechanics of the MPAA system. 

Where a film is placed in a store is a semi-arbitrary system. From Cult, to Mystery, to Horror- but this film fits in all those categories. Cult, because as Meredith pointed out, it's true, this isn't going to be one of those films that everyone is into. Mystery, it definitely had the Hitchcock suspense in there (the CU of the knife in the boat..). Horror- it is a horror film. Random acts of violence on seemingly happy middle class white American family; a naked or semi naked woman; suffocating portrayal of psychological ideas; the murders not being is a horror film. 

As I mentioned in class, I don't watch horror films for various reasons (and I might be wrong in this assumption), but
don't most Horror films take place in locations that are not the home? I think the location (along with the Paul & Peter's
demeanor) adds to that sense of uneasy in the audience. Again, it goes back to that idea of detachment, and that as the
audience we can detach ourselves from an ugly killer at a summer camp for 25 years old. Krzys brought up Naomi's acting. Is
that another possible reason for our unease as the audience. Because, let's be honest, your average horror film actress isn't
usually an Oscar nominated actress- and except for the incessant screaming and sometimes wet eyes, you never actually see
the complete emotional complexities of the 'victim' in typical Horror films.

It was also brought up that Haneke was possibly saying that violence is all around us and that it can happen anywhere. True.
The Kansas killings in Capote's In Cold Blood, are a perfect example. They were much like Paul & Peter; it was a family unit
(not a group of teens); and it happened in their home (not a summer camp). But again the idea of detachment is present.
America is a very violent country. So many of our words have "war" and "violent" connotations. So whether the idea is right
or wrong- violence is a more permissible 'activity'(?) in American life as opposed to the still so ever taboo idea of sex/nudity.
[Which again- I won't get into the logistics of sex/nudity, just know that a majority of the time, if nudity/sex is shown in a
human way and not a 'fantasy' way- it's going to get an R or NC17 as opposed to the Gossip Girl/A Knight's Tale rating of PG13]

I feel that Haneke did his job if at the end of the film the audience walks away uncomfortable or feeling 'preached' to. The
audience feels that way for a reason. It's just a matter of deciphering those feelings and the point for this work.

1 comment:

  1. "Is it right or fair of us to put it in the same boundaries as literature?" This again goes back to how people define literature, so each person's answer to this question is going to be different. Personally, the things that I enjoy most about "literature" in the form of books, are the things like allegories, metaphors and social commentary. So I feel like if a song or a poem or a movie can offer me that same commentary or "life lesson," just not in book form, then yeah, I feel like it is okay to put it in the same "boundaries" at literature.

    What I mostly got from Funny Games was what Sam mentioned about violence being all around. I am a big fan of all those murder shows: Snapped, The First 48, 20/20, Dateline and all those. I'm not talking CSI, I'm talking the shows that follow real life murders. They draw me in so easily, but afterward, I always find myself asking why the heck I just wasted an hour of my life watching that? After I watch one f those shows I always leave with a creeped out feeling, much like the feeling I got after watching Funny Games. Those shows are about real live people who actually murdered other real people, and it's right there for me to see and watch.

    I agree that Haneke didn't make a Type A horror film, because he wanted to show what real horror is like, just like in all those crappy shows I watch on TV. Except the shows only show the aftermath of the crime, and Haneke took us inside the crime as it was happening. He didn't edit it and add creepy music for effect, he showed the real struggle the family faced. I think that that is creepier and scarier than any Freddy or Jason movie. I may not have jumped back or gasped in momentary fright while watching Funny Games, but that was not what Haneke wanted. He wanted that yucky feeling to creep in and settle in out brains and make us think about crime and horror in a different way. But no matter what, we still could not decide how it was going to end, much like the family could not decide their own fate.