Tuesday, April 01, 2008

71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls by Michael Haneke

71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance by Michael Haneke is a 1994 Austrian film. It is the last in his emotional glaciation trilogy. The first two films were the superlative Der Siebente Kontinent (The Seventh Continent) and Benny's Video.

In this trilogy, Haneke attempts to show how the insularity and lack of emotional connection with another human being leads to an inhuman, cold habitat. Violence, depression and separation are the seemingly inexplicable effects of this climate. In each of the three films, a very violent catastrophe happens as if without any motive. The art of the director in these films is he lets viewers get a full-on non-verbalized understanding of how that violence comes into being. The director attempts to show, very obliquely, that that violence had to happen.

The film can be naturally seen at two levels: the level of the wars (shown in news casts) happening in Eastern Europe and in the third world (the hot wars), and the empty, frustrated, alienated lives of the people living urban, middle class lifestyles in a modern city in Austria (the cold wars).

Weaving a masterful, disjointed narrative to a shattering climax, Michael Haneke illustrates that war and murder is inexplicable only if we don't see what is happening all around us. I disagree with him that there is something particularly wrong in the modern lifestyle so as to lead to violent outbreaks. He seems to imply that violence and war are the mass expressions of the modern emotional glaciation. War has been happening since the dawn of man, and the malaise is deeper than just the alienation of human beings in the post-industrial society.

What is instructive is to see how the modern lifestyle, and the technology, accentuate the separation in man, how this emotional disease is leading to an inhumanly pathological state of affairs.

No comments: