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Happy End to be Austrian horror master Michael Haneke’s new film

  • Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • Updated: Jan 04, 2016 16:46 IST

One of the best remembered films of Haneke was Funny Games, which released in 1997. (Wega Film)

The celebrated Austrian director, Michael Haneke, who scared us out of our wits through his Funny Games, The White Ribbon and even Amour (Love), will reunite with his The Piano Teacher star, French actress Isabelle Huppert, for a film that will tackle -- well what else -- the migration crisis in Europe. It will be set at Calais in France.

Haneke will begin his shoot soon, and there are some suggestions that it can be part of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The movie is to be called Happy End.

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For Haneke, Happy End will be his fourth outing with Huppert (who next appears in Paul Verhoeven’s psychological thriller, Elle, as well as in Souvenir, about a fading Eurovision song contest winner) after The Piano Teacher, Time of the Wolf and Amour.

One of the best remembered films of Haneke was Funny Games. Seen at the 1997 Cannes, the movie was not funny in the least. A pure horror in which two young boys hold a family to ransom in a remote countryside and play such terrible psychological games that even some seasoned critics at the press show ran out and puked. One has really not seen a film that was so terrifying on the mind.

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Another work of Haneke, The White Ribbon -- which clinched the Palm d’Or at Cannes in 2009 - was also horrifying, analysing the darkness of the German society and family in a village just before World War I. And Haneke had said then that his work “is about the roots of evil. Whether it is religious or political terrorism, it is the same thing”.

The White Ribbon documents religious terrorism through fiction. (Wega Film X Filme)

The White Ribbon documents through fiction religious terrorism which was absolutely nerve-wracking. And mind you, Haneke presents his palate of revulsion through a psychological play, which can be far more scary than gun fights and the like.

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The Piano Teacher is a study of a woman’s sexual repression, and we see Huppert’s Erika indulging in sadomasochistic fetishes, including genital mutilation.

It now remains to be seen how happy will Happy End turn out to be.

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