DVD
Michael Haneke Trilogy Box Set

Starring: Dieter Berner, Udo Samel, Leni Tanzer, Silvia Fenz and Birgit Doll
Tartan DVD
RRP: 39.99
TVD3694
Certificate: 18
Available 04 December 2006


On the back of the success of
Hidden, comes the release of Michael Haneke's earliest productions, released on DVD for the first time here, and previously known as The Emotional Glaciation Trilogy. These films investigate the darkness of the soul, particularly of normal middle-class people...

In The Seventh Continent, Georg, Anna, and their young daughter Eve, are a normal family, successful and seemingly without a care in the world. But over a three-year period Georg and Anna carefully deconstruct every part of their lives. Jobs, car, bank account, and even the interior of the house itself, so that no part of their former life is left behind.

For me, this is probably the best of the bunch on offer here. Arguably, it's a little too long, but it does show us every part of the family's connections and how they are meticulously severed. What makes this film poignant is the presence of the little girl, who is too young to understand what is happening, especially as we have to see her given an overdose of tablets.

In Benny's Video, a schoolboy, fascinated with videos depicting extreme violence, becomes obsessed after personally filming the death of a pig on a farm. Stealing the contraption used on the animal, he shows it to a girl he meets outside the video shop. After running his film of the pig for her, he loads the device and dares her to use it on him. When she makes the mistake of daring him in return, he kills her. When the boy's parents discover what has happened they are faced with the dilemma of whether to come clean with the authorities and so see their son's life ruined, or attempt to cover it up.

Arno Frisch plays a younger version of pretty much the same character as he does in Funny Games (also directed by Michael Haneke). Benny's Video is very slow in its pacing, as if that is likely to tell us more about the psyche of the young offender. The best part of this film is Benny's parent's discussion about what to do when they discover the girl's body. The rest is at best tedious and somewhat in bad taste.

In 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance, a series of events depicting people and places which are totally unconnected, lead up to the shooting spree of an Austrian student at Christmas in 1993.

At first viewing this contribution seems a little disjointed and, frankly, nonsensical. It does turn out to have meaning, but not enough to sustain much interest. And again, it outstays its welcome by a good twenty minutes. Therefore, I count this as the weakest of the three films.

For anyone who doesn't already know, these films contain a German language soundtrack and English subtitles. They are presented in Anamorphic 1.85:1 with Dolby DTS sound. Each disc contains an interview with the director. For world film collectors and fans of Haneke.

Ty Power

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