Uneasy Domesticity in the Films of Michael Haneke: Studies in European Cinema

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Abstract

The films of the Austrian director, Michael Haneke, provide an austere meditation on possible problems with the concept of the domestic environment as a space of safety. Narratives of domestic dispute often position the violence of such abuse as an aberration, but Haneke indicates that the home is fundamentally predicated on aggression and fear rather than kindness and security. In order to explore this idea as it is worked through in his films, it will be useful to revisit Freud's formulation of the unheimlich. Haneke's criticisms are particularly aimed at the comparatively wealthy bourgeoisie, but it is in his ambiguous presentation of hope that we might perhaps see the possibility, however slight, of redemption. This paper discusses Haneke's films within the so-called genre of the ?Art House? film and within the context of the Heimat film genre ? Haneke introduces an uncanny and uncomfortable element into each of these homely categories. Films discussed include: Code Unknown, The Pianist, The Time of the Wolf and Caché.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Volume2
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • Michael Haneke
  • uncanny
  • Time of the Wolf
  • Code Unknown
  • Heimat film
  • art house
  • domestic

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