screenings - events

Playing the game

Screen violence is turned upside down by Michael Haneke in the controversial Funny Games.

’In my personal experience,’ says Austrian director Michael Haneke, ’the films that have helped me most in my development are the films that have unsettled me, that have stunned me.’ Audiences emerging from Haneke's Funny Games are pretty sure to be stunned by a film that provoked a storm of controversy at Cannes earlier this yean

The premise is simple, a standard horror-thriller cliche two young men spend an evening terrorising a family in their holiday home but Haneke uses various technical and stylistic devices to break the rules of the genre. Although all the violence happens off-camera, its

The game's up: Arno Frisch, Susanne Lothar and Frank Giering in Funny Games

effects are devastating because we are made to concentrate for distressingly long periods of time on the faces of the survivors. By wrong-footing us during the opening credits (blaring hardcore metal blasts out when we expect a classical favourite), Haneke is able to turn even banal encounters into the most uncomfortable, uneasy cinematic experience since Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer.

’Usually the spectator becomes an accomplice of the perpetrators,’ says Haneke of mainstream cinema. ’He enjoys violence because it is shown from the perspective of the perpetrators. I want him to see violence for what it really is - the suffering of the victims. It’s important to shock the spectator into realising his role in the consumption of media violence.’

As well as its comments on psycho-thriller conventions, Funny Games touches on wider issues concerning a generation growing up with no sense of moral responsibility. Haneke knows where to point the fingen

'Had I grown up with television as a second mother’s breast,’ reckons the 55-year-old, ’then it would be very difficult for me - as it is for young people to distinguish between real violence and fictional violence in the media. We experience the world first through television; only after that do we go out into the real world and experience it. That is a danger.’ (Alan Morrison I Funny Games, Fi/mhouse 7, Thu 74, 7pm, Fi/mhouse 1, Fri 22, 9 30pm.

Edgar cs." Ulmer

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Off the beaten track: Torn Neal and Ann Savage in Detour

in his 36-year career spanning Germany, Hollywood and beyond, Viennese-born Edgar G. Ulmer claimed to have directed some 128 films This year's Scottish Screen Edinburgh International Film Festival's retrospective gives us a taste of his prolific output, packing 24 features into thirteen days

The B—moVie classic. for which he's still best remembered is 1945's fate- haunted, minimalist film noir Detour Shot in the studio in just SIX days, its low-rent surroundings and disturbing sexual undertow capture the authentic tang of Dawd Goodis's pulp fiction - penny-pinching bark projection notWIthstanding

Certainly, there's some adjustment to be made by today's Viewers, since the majority of Ulmer's Amerir'an mowes aren‘t so much B-moVies as Z-mowes, promising lurid excitement (Girls In Chainsi, cash-strapped sci-fi spectacle (The Amazing Transparrmt Man), or hardbOiled thrills (Murder Is My Beat). Defenders might argue this as the purest cinema of all. getting by on sheer directorial ingenuity and a ready stock of familiar genre conventions to be reassembled as if the jigsaw pieces don't

riUite fit the picture on the box. Epic it isn't.

Given Ulmer’s pedigree, it all might have been so different. An associate of EW. tvlurnau, he designed sets for silent expressionist classics like The Last Laugh and Sunrise, worked With Billy Wilder, Robert Siodmak and Fred Zinnemann on 1929's quintessential city-symphony People On Sunday, but never really made the American breakthrough open to numerous other expatriates.

The Wild and woolly Universal horror flick The Black Cat (1934) may have proved too weird for studio tastes, and Ulmer Subsequently found work in the Yiddish Cinema (rare examples screening in Edinburgh include Green Fields and The Light Ahead) before gomg down fighting on Poverty Row. He died in 1972, and has been undergoing rediscovery ever since Edinburgh continues that VJOTk-lll-DTOQTCSS, though it's a pity we‘re not getting 1947's Carnegie Hall, With its treasure trove of the decade's great classical music. talents. (Trevor Johnston)

I The Ulmer retrospective begins wrth Detour, Filnihouse 7, Mon 77, 4 30pm, [4 ([3).

Hit list

The week’s golden moments on the silver screen.

The Sweet Hereafter Ian Holm gives a towering performance in Atom Egoyan's portrait of a . community grieving over the loss of _ its children. See review on following pages. The Sweet Hereafter, Cameo 7, Mon 77, 8pm, £6 (£4).

Lost Highway David Lynch heads out on another surreal journey along the darkest routes of the American psyche. See feature, page 20, and review on following pages. Lost Highway, ABC 2, Mon 77, 6.30pm, £6 (£4).

Der Platz Man and machine collide on a Berlin construction site in this most poetic of documentaries. See review on following pages. Der Platz, Fi/mhouse 2, Thu 74, 5.30pm, £6 (£4).

Detour A moody noir classic that's low—budget cinema at its very best. See Ulmer preview, left. Detour, Filmhouse 7, Mon 77, 4.30pm; Fi/mhouse 2, Wed 73, 3.30pm, £4 (£3).

Sick: The Life And Death Of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist A chronic sufferer of cystic fibrosis discovers an extreme means of reclaiming his body through self- inflicted pain in this brave, moving documentary. See review on following pages. Sick, Fi/mhouse 7, Tue 72, 9.30pm, £6 (£4).

The Battle Of Algiers Algerian citizens battle against the French for independence in the 19505 in Pontecorvo’s riveting political docu- drama. The Battle Of Algiers, Fi/mhouse 7, Tue 72, 7pm, £4 (£3). Gil/o Poniecorvo Scene By Scene, Fi/mhouse 7, Wed 73, 7pm, £9 (£4). Shooting Fish Kate Beckinsale isn’t as gullible as her con-men employers think in this cracking British comedy. See review on following pages. Shooting Fish, ABC Wes ter Hai/es, Thu 74, 8pm, £6 (£4).

Every Little Thing The patients in a French psychiatric clinic stage a play, and discover joy and turmoil in the process. See review on following pages. Every Little Thing, Fi/mhouse 2, Wed 73, 5.30pm, £6 (£4).

8 14 Aug 1997 THE UST 85