Posted: May 28th, 2021
The preferred reading from director Michael Haneke gives a lot of insight to why the audience felt the way they did. Haneke’s intended message of the film was irony. “All the rules that usually make the viewer go home happy and contented are broken in my film,” (Haneke). This is why the film makes audiences so uncomfortable; it takes them out of their standard beliefs of what a film should have in it. Haneke breaks these rules several times to give the audience increased feelings of anxiousness. “There’s this unspoken rule that you can’t harm animals.
What do I do? I kill the dog first thing. The same thing with the boy. You’re not supposed to break the illusion. What do I do? I break the illusion. It’s the principle of the whole film. It’s a very ironic film,” (Haneke) Haneke also displays the irony through the music, “Just like the film is a parody of a classical thriller, John Zorn is a parody of classical heavy metal. The classical music is not a soundtrack in this movie. All my music is not meant as a soundtrack—is part of the action, part of the story.
The other music, the John Zorn music, is under the titles, and it’s the ironic colon. OK, now we go to a thriller,” (Haneke) Haneke’s second message is manipulation, “I wanted to show the audience how much they can be manipulated,” (Haneke). He purposefully toys with the audience, bringing them to unfamiliar territory. “First they think it’s all an illusion, just a film, then I do this rewinding and suddenly you go back. I look at the viewer directly, I talk to him, I wink at him. I do this again and again to show how much one can manipulate.
In view of this overriding illusion in movies, it’s a good idea to create a little bit of mistrust in the verite, in the truth of moving pictures. ” As for Peter and Paul being gay that interpretation was not intended. “We heard it before, but I’m very surprised actually. First of all, the actors aren’t gay, but that would be beside the point. I don’t know why people think that—because they are handsome, or have white clothes on, I don’t know,” (Haneke). Overall Haneke wanted the audience to feel a, “Slap in the face,” and it definitely worked.
The negotiated reading for Funny Games describes the movie as, “Horror that really scared, devastated, and stayed with me long after the final scene was over,” (Galina 1). I feel that this is close to what I was thinking after the film and also to many others in the class. The nonchalant nature of Paul and Peter really sticks to you and the infamous George, “Why are you doing this to us? ” Paul, “Why not? ” is absolutely chilling. This is scary to most people because the audience is used to a killer that has a direct motive and a back story.
Funny Games leaves you with none of that and because this is very uncommon our lack of gap-fill is shocking. “I can’t easily recall another movie that made me go through the same emotions as the innocent victims in the movie did, to feel the same helplessness, hopelessness, despair, humiliation, and horror,” (Galina 1). All of these emotions build up to a realization that the good guys won’t win. Most of the time movies punish evil and let the good prevail but when this doesn’t happen audiences are shocked because our gap-fill between good and evil comforted us that there was a chance for the good.
After the awareness that evil has won a sense of “They are among us, they are nice and polite, well read, shy and ironic, they have the names from the new Testament, Paul and Peter, they talk with the soft refined voices but they are monsters nevertheless who have no regard for a human life and who want to play their sadistic funny games to the extreme,” sets in (Galina 1). This reception of the movie Funny Games is what I feel most viewers felt.
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