Michael Haneke’s films are often described as unflinching, cold, and calculated. Be it upending bourgeois politesse in Funny Games, adapting Austrian “erotic” novels like The Piano Teacher, or telling unsettling tales of incestuous religious abuse in The White Ribbon, for a long time he remained a European art house staple.
While Haneke has earned accolades at Cannes, it wasn’t until his most recent film, Amour, that Hollywood took note, earning him a Best Director and Best Picture nomination at this year’s Oscars. (White Ribbon was nominated for Best Foreign Film and Cinematography in 2010 and lost to Avatar in the latter category, but that’s a whole other rant.) The story of a husband caring for his dying wife, it’s no breezy picture. Having now achieved “mainstream” success, it will be interesting to see what the 70-year-old director will do next.
Poking fun at the idea of Haneke crossing over into an American realm, the César Award (French Oscars) made a clever trailer envisioning Haneke’s take on Star Wars. Using the plot of Amour, Luke Skywalker cares for his ailing father, Darth Vadar, as Leia putters around pathetically cleaning and leaning on a walker.
Genuinely funny, the trailer also leaves behind a bitter taste of jealousy. While France got clever and original jokes on their big awards night, we got stuck with Seth MacFarlane.