Wednesday, February 11, 2009

'You Shouldn't Forget the Importance of Entertainment'

Oh where does one begin? First off, I'm so glad we watched this film. But I won't gush on about it in that way, I'm just going to make a few observations.

1) Breaking the 4th wall. [Mr. Haneke, director sir, you are a genius.] Addressing the audience directly is only done in films for very specific purposes. In this case, it played a very integral part in the meaning of the film (a meaning addressed several times throughout, but most pointedly at the end of the film). It says "Hey- this isn't real. You are in on the dramatic irony"
a) Break 1: Paul smirking at the audience when Ann is looking for Lucky
b) Break 2: Paul during the Make-a-Bet game; verbally addressed the audience
c) Break 3: Paul during The-Loving-Wife game; verbally addressed the audience- asking "do you think it's enough?"
d) Break 4: Paul after he has entered Betsy's house and she went to get eggs. 

2) Games!! [I counted 7 clear references by Paul to a game change.]
a) Tom & Jerry nicknames = Cat & Mouse
b) Games
1) Politeness (Give me eggs)
2) Guessing Game (what is this? a golf ball.)
3) Hot & Cold (find Lucky)
4) Bet (Let's make a deal...12 hours)
5) Cat-in-the-Bag (take your clothes off...honey)
6) Ini-Mini-Miney-Moe
7) The Loving Wife
8) I think a plausible game would be Hide & Go-Seek b/w Paul and Georgie

3) The Remote...hit Rewind. [Again, Mr. Haneke, director sir, you are a genius.]
a) Right before Paul searches for the remote, he breaks the 4th wall and asks the audience if they want a PLAUSIBLE ending. So Haneke gave the audience just what they wanted...retribution. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang- Ann shoots Peter. But once the Rewind button is pushed it amounts to a couple of things: 1) This again is not real, 2) Was shooting Peter REALLY a plausible idea? In her condition, was it really possible for her to have that much strength over the disciples? [The disciples??]

4) Religion:
a) Peter- one of the twelve
b) Paul- a converted missionary
c) White (polos, gloves, Converse)
d) Prayer
e) Pearly Gates

5) Juxtaposition in Title Sequence
a) Happy family 
b) Bold RED font
c) Rob Zombieish horror mash-up (heavy metal meets screaming)
i) also this song was played again...adding to the traditional formula of "horror" film images

6) Devil's in the Details
a) Off-Stage Dialogue
b) Close-ups: Golf clubs, bag being put down near shoe mat, knife in boat, shotgun on the stairs, eggs!!, cellphone in water....
c) Oh that's just a Phallacy! Peter leaning against the door and the golf club is aptly placed b/w his legs and it is at a 45 degree angle. Shows source of domination over family (in this shot it was juxtaposed with both Georges sitting)
d) Symmetry:
i)  Peter & Paul (same basic outfit, including hair, names starting with P)
ii) Living Room (two windows w/ identical open curtains, 4 matching pictures two in the middle, two flanking the windows on either side, two lamps one at either window, -- one is askew, meaning--something isn't right, introduces chaos in a calm world...

7) Quotes: [ones I enjoyed, had foreshadowing, or gave away meaning]
a) Ann "I don't know what kind of game you're playing, but I don't want to be a part of it."
b) Ann "I asked you to throw them out. Maybe I have my reasons."
c) Paul "You better be careful old man, or I'll break your eggs."
d) Paul "Help him, just don't do anything stupid."
e) Paul "It's easier when things are polite."
f) Peter "You shouldn't forget the importance of entertainment."
g) Peter "Why are you degrading yourself? Is this as painful for you as it is for me?"
h) Peter "It turns out one universe is real and the other is fiction."
i) Paul - basically his whole response to the above quote from Peter 
concerning Fiction & Reality (What is and Isn't real?)
j) "Strange way to play." and "Disasters under control."

Oh I feel like I'm missing some things I wrote down, but it should be an exciting discussion in class tomorrow!

What I got out of this film: Entertainment is All One Big Funny Game

And now a word from our director:

"My films are intended as polemical statements against the American 'barrel 
down' cinema and its dis-empowerment of the spectator. "

"Film is 24 lies per second at the service of truth, or at the service of the attempt to find the truth."


  1. Good list, I was worried I was going to be the only person who liked the movie.
    I liked how your application of 'Step 1: Observations' but I'm having trouble moving on to Analysis/Interpretation
    For instance, what is the point of the biblical names/costumes? And why does Haneke want us to be involved? And why that grating song?

    I feel like there's a lot of stuff going on in this movie but I'm struggling to extract the meaning beyond just the meaning that was handed to you at the end. Looking forward to our class discussion on it.