Sunday, September 16, 2007

Der Siebente Kontinent (The Seventh Continent) by Michael Haneke

In the shadow of the laws, where is thy life?

Does what you drink and consume quench your thirst, the emptiness of your being?

In the midst of plenty, what makes you cry suddenly and unstoppably?

Since you were born, what have you not pursued, and found wanting?

If you think you have everything, think again.

Your life is not what you write in your letters about your career and health, your life is what is left unsaid.

As each lap-day comes to an end, the gear again shifts to the first, and we again go through the motions of another mechanized day.

Unable to come closer in life, with clothes and rules and engagements between us, the only intimacy seems to be in death.

Recommendation: Masterpiece


Arvind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
harmanjit said...

I do stand by my classification of this as a masterpiece of world cinema.

The isolation and the feeling of just being a cog is more pronounced in a modern urban setting.

Notice the first frame of the film: it is a number on a car plate, one of the many numbers by which we are known in the world.

It is not just the tragedy of monotony but also the deep lack of any worthwhile goal.

The daily deaths of ambition at the work place, of trying to have a conformant child, of trying to grow over a past hurt.

I am deleting your comment as it contains a spoiler.

harmanjit said...

Some comments from IMDB:

"Michael Haneke is The Filmmaker, the one those aficionados of The Grand Cinematic Tradition have been waiting for to continue the work of Welles, Bunuel, and Kubrick. There are others. This filmmaker, Michael Haneke, with "The Seventh Continent" and his other films "Hidden", "The Time of the Wolf", "The Piano Teacher", "Code Unknown", "Funny Games", and others makes for a talent so brilliant and bright that I scarcely believe it. This incredible, incredible, incredible motion picture ostensibly about a girl that fraudulently claims blindness highlights what will ultimately become Michael Haneke's greatest focus: the tragedy of the middle-class intelligentsia.

People, I've seen thousands of movies, and I would sooner see absolutely no more movies for the rest of my time on this planet than never see a piece of work like "The Seventh Continent" again. This single movie, this one movie, is why the medium of film still exists so successfully. "Hyperbole!" you may think. Have you seen this film? I'm a loud, confrontational person and this movie shut me up for five days. Forget Matthew Barney; hang this film in a museum. I am floored, stunned, that this movie could be made. It will stun so many of you, as well, with its horrific honesty and truth. So should I never see a movie as amazing! God forbid! So should it ever happen!"

"Der Siebent Kontinent is a film you should watch. It is not pleasant neither does Michael Haneke uses any tricks in order to even interest you about the characters or their lives. Yet, it is as powerful as an atomic bomb during peace time. It is LOUD and its message (which is whatever you want it to be) is right in your face.

It is amazing how a masterpiece needs no soundtrack, fancy camera work or explicit and extended dialogs.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to find. The screenings are rare and no personal editions on VHS or DVD exist as far as I am aware. Many will recognize the "Piano Teacher" approach to directing but, this is as powerful as it can get. One of the finest examples of style not overlapping form.

Treat yourself with this lesson. Watch it if you can. Specially if you experienced depression at a given time in your life."

Arvind said...

"It is not just the tragedy of monotony but also the deep lack of any worthwhile goal."

Well such is the case with being a village woman too, what is her goal? To raise up kids which repeat the same routine ad infinitum. How about a tribal, what worthwhile goals is he pursuing

I think the main culprit may not be lack of purpose or monotonicity, but the pervasive anxiety, from which people are free in more primitive cultures.

Ben said...

Thanks for posting this. It seems, Holism being what it is, that I was intended to read it at the moment when I was capable of appreciating it most.

harmanjit said...

Hi Arvind,

This is such an individual and open movie that everybody will have their own interpretation, and the director purposefully does not say anything about the motivations of the characters.

Other than that, yes, it is possible in a village setting also, but human interaction in villages and close communities is usually more.

Anonymous said...

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thank you.