Monday, September 24, 2007

Funny Games

"Funny Games" is one of the few movies I have watched twice in a row. The only others I can remember off the top of my head were "Rosemary's Baby," "The Ice Storm" and "Children of Men."

The film's director, Austrian Michael Haneke, has made a shot-for-shot remake of the film, this time in English (the original film was in German, and his other great film, "Cache," was in French).

I'm not sure how I feel about this remake. It seems to be a purely commercial move, especially considering Tim Roth and Naomi Watts are in the new film.

At the same time, though, I really hope this movie will vault him into Americans' consciousness, as he is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today.

In anticipation of the new film, the New York Times has run a profile of him in the Sunday magazine. In the following paragraphs, it gives a decent overview of the man and his films.
Making what Haneke has become famous for. Over the last two decades, the director has developed a reputation for stark, often brutal films that place the viewer — sometimes subtly, sometimes explicitly — in the uncomfortable role of accomplice to the crimes playing out on-screen. This approach has made Haneke one of contemporary cinema’s most reviled and revered figures, earning him everything from accusations of obscenity to a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art next month. “Funny Games,” the movie Haneke was shooting in New York and Long Island, is the American remake of a highly controversial film by the same name that he directed in 1997. It was from its beginnings targeted at the American moviegoing public — and no other word but “targeted” will do. “Funny Games” is a direct assault on the conventions of cinematic violence in the United States, and the new version of the film, with its English-speaking cast and unmistakably American production design, makes this excruciatingly clear. More surprising still, Haneke remade this attack on the Hollywood thriller for a major Hollywood studio, Warner Independent Pictures, and refused to alter the original film’s story in the slightest. Read the article here.
I must see the remake--it's set for release in 2008.

Here is the trailer for the new version:

And here's the trailer for the old one:

I like the old one better. A lot better.

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