Nazi Germany: The Wonder Years
Similarly his 2005 film Cache [Hidden] never really explodes like the tension implies, except of course briefly in THAT scene. You know the one. For most films a lackluster ending that doesn’t come clean on the dramatic promises it creates usually makes for a wholly unsatisfying experience. But Haneke isn’t trying to wrap his films in a nice neat little box for you to take home to mumma. Take Hidden for a text book example of how effective this can be; the family receives the video tapes and the entire filmed is anchored around this mystery and SPOILER ALERT whilst we never really find out where the tapes came from, its doesn’t matter. Haneke uses narrative tension in his films to create the mood of his films, but ultimately the films mystery pales in comparison to what the film is really about thematically.
That's one for the fridge.
Haneke is constantly pushing in the envelope in his films, and he pushes it so firmly that it would give you a paper cut if you tried to stop it. All poor analogies aside, The Piano Teacher, Haneke’s 2001 film, certainly pushes the envelope in the most obvious and overt fashion of all his films but is done so tastefully that the sexually graphic themes and scenes aren’t as overbearing as they could have been. The Piano Teacher is one of those films that when you describe it to someone as you recommend it, you come across as a sadistic pervert for saying you like it.
"So she goes to a porno booth, gets a dirty tissue and takes a whiff."
But it’s all essential. The goddess of acting Isabelle Huppert gives the incredible performance that is just as layered as Hanke’s direction is. She deserves so much credit for fully grasping what Haneke was trying to achieve and going for broke. In lesser hands the entire film could have fallen apart from a weak thread. Of course it wouldn’t surprise me if Haneke’s hand was strongly at play in shaping her performance. This being said, in every film of Haneke’s, he’s always supported by a fantastic cast and crew that only elevate his genius.
So calling Haneke best director alive is a big call, that maybe I’m not quite ready to claim. The most skilled? Yes. I think there’s a difference that I can elaborate on if people want me to. I’ll be more than interested to see where Haneke goes from here, as he seems to be getting better with each film.