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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Michael Haneke: I’m trying to rape the viewer into independence



Quoth Michael Haneke in a lengthy Sunday New York Times profile by novelist John Wray: “The decision to remake his signature work in America with an A-list cast caused considerable controversy among hardcore cinephiles, not least because of Haneke’s reputation as one of Hollywood’s most outspoken critics. Haneke was quick to defend himself. “Of course I’m a critic of the studio system,” he said, as if it were unthinkable not to be. “But that doesn’t mean that one can’t work within that system. ‘Funny Games’ was always made with American audiences in mind, since its subject is Hollywood’s attitude toward violence. And nothing has changed about that attitude since the first version of my film was released — just the opposite, in fact.” When I asked whether the average American moviegoer was likely to appreciate having his attitude adjusted, Haneke-style, the director thought for a moment, then threw up his hands in mock surrender. “I’ve been accused of ‘raping’ the audience in my films, and I admit to that freely — all movies assault the viewer in one way or another. What’s different about my films is this: I’m trying to rape the viewer into independence.” [The trailer for the 2008 release is above.]

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“Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them—to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater—one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen—people he’s never known—with equal intensity—with equal venom. Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race—to despise an entire nation—to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God–a God who calls us ALL—His children.”
~ Stan Lee, 1965

“I’m more and more interested in Godard’s idea that not much matters except dealing with the present moment, that when you look at history, you’ve got to refract it through your awareness of the present. I mean, I’m interested in history, and here I am talking about biopics, but I don’t want to run from the present. And the idea of time-travel through CGI feels like a magic trick that might be an evasion of other issues. Besides, I like working with real actors in real spaces. Can’t help it.”
~ Michael Almereyda