Michael Haneke isn’t exactly someone who tends to expose too much of himself. His austere and reserved nature is echoed in the harrowing and beautiful films he creates and with this year’s Amour, the acclaimed Austrian writer and director became more beloved than ever.
But with Yves Montmayeur’s Michael H. Profession: Director, we get a deeper insight into the multi-Palme d’Or-winning filmmaker who has given us such films at The Piano Teacher, The White Ribbon, Funny Games, Cache, and Code Unknown. Originally premiering on Austrian television, the film will be running the festival circuit in the States, first heading to the Tribeca Film Festival next month. Michael H. Profession: Director will feature interviews with Haneke himself, as well as his frequent star Isabelle Huppert alongside Juliette Binoche, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Emmanuelle Riva.
And as one of the most important and interesting directors working today, when I spoke with Haneke back in September, a question was asked about his fearlessness in exploring poitically and socially sensitive topics, to which he said:
That can’t be the starting point for an actor or director. If you’re living today and dealing with contemporary reality then automatically you’re going to want to talk seriously about the society you’re living in and you’re automatically going to touch on raw points. You can’t be a filmmaker or an author and not touch on them. You can’t avoid that. But the point is, that you’re not seeking to exploit those, rather they follow from the issues that you’re dealing with, your vision. In many of my films I’ve talked about the role of the media in society, and not because that seems to be an important point theoretically, but more because I’m a part of that media landscape and because it touches me and it angers me. Tthat’s really why I want to deal with it, because of the emotions it creates in me. Theoretical films are terribly boring.
If there’s any young actor I trust would make a phenomenal writer and director, it’s Brady Corbet. Not only has be proven to be exceedingly talented and intelligent but at 24-years-old he’s already been able to study under the brilliant minds of Michael Haneke with Funny Games, Lars von Trier with Melancholia, Gregg Araki with Mysterious Skin, and Sean Durkin with Martha Marcy May Marlene. And with his latest film, Antonio Campos’ visceral and haunting psychological thriller Simon Killer—which premieres this Friday at IFC—he and Campos built the story together, collaborating to craft something deeply powerful—a perfect vehicle for their like-minded dark sensibility.
And off the heat of Simon Killer‘s premiere and last week’s announcement that Corbet would be starring alongside in Benecio del Toro in Paradise Lost, The Hollywood Reporter tells us that the dynamic actor is now set to write and direct a French-set period drama. But this is definitely more thrilling than shocking; no stranger to getting behind the camera, he directed the short "Protect You + Me" which won an honorable mention at Sundance in 2009 and also shares a co-writing credit on his upcoming film Sleepwalker.
What’s always intrigued me about Corbet was despite his charm, good looks, and talent he’s never been sucked into the typical Hollywood fare, always making wise decisions to take on interesting roles with international and acclaimed directors. And although little is known thus far about the film—save the fact that he will not be starring in it—it’s certainly intruiging. There’s something about the films he works on that all feel cut from the same cloth and when imagining a feature he would pen and direct, it’s difficult to not imagine this falling in the same vein. So needless to say, I’m excited.
Check back later this week for our interview Campos and Corbet on Simon Killer and watch his 10-minute chilling short below.
Funny Games. The Piano Teacher. Caché. The White Ribbon. Uh, the shot-by-shot U.S. remake of Funny Games. For years Austrian auteur Michael Haneke has been assaulting our most treasured bourgeois sentiments with his frosty cinematic style, psychosexual terrors and punishing silences. If Amour looks somehow more benign at first, that’s probably just a very nasty trick.
“Oh,” you might think, “It’s about love? Old people in love? That can’t be very edgy. Even with the addition of a debilitating stroke, how could it rise about intimate familial melodrama?” Just you wait. Haneke will find a way to make you jump like a twelve-year-old watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time in a dark basement, alone. Dude could tangle with the Japanese when it comes to making fucked-up movies.
So prepare yourself for December 19, when Amour hits New York and LA, and you have all your darkest emotions scooped out of your body and piled before you like a towering ice cream sundae topped with blood. That’s how intense it’ll be. You may not even want to bring a date; it’ll be a shell-shocked, wordless meal at the diner afterward.