{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Monday, March 27, 2006

Funny ... aint it ?

When exactly 90 minutes of movie have passed, one of the tormentor turns towards the viewers and asks with sadistic fun, "We haven't even reached feature film length, yet" and goes on with more fun and gives the viewer more "gratification" that movie has not finished yet, it will continue and so do the inescapable violence for the audience who has seen it all, enjoyed it in the plethora of hollywood slick flicks and to say the least have become immune to it as long as it is not directed towards him, and is shown using a number of euphemisms. One more time, quite early in the movie, the clever tormentor, blinks his eyes towards the audience to show that the game has started and its so much fun in tricking the one who is searching for someone dead as is done many of the million-bucks directors, in this case it was just a dog, so we console ourselves with the fact that we can take that much and probably this scene was put for someone weaker at heart, quite unaware of the game we are put in.

And it all apparently starts over a few eggs, which probably a viewer is not used to digest because violence is supposed to have bigger motives and for that we soon realize that there are people like sadistic bastards and psychopaths (this reason-finding attitude of the film-consumers is also mocked at when reason why one of the tormentors turned so is fabricated by the other) and we are happy to find a reason but what about the plot. For this our (we can say this for sure) tormentor, again turns to us and quips "Don't you expect a plot" and again finds excuse to be more violent, the more the better, he is killing us with our own mantra of entertainment value and what people call "Paisa Vasool". I may go on and on to say how queasy I felt, how sick was the violence, how bad were the psychos and I will miss the whole point. This movie is not supposed to make you so (although it does so) but to test you in a way, its like asking how much you can take, and how much you can enjoy and in doing so it doesn't make fun of violence which movies like 'Pulp Fiction' do and hence it doesn't reduce the magnificent tension that it builds.

One more interesting thing about the movie is the background score or rather dearth of it, its a fun of those movies that use accentuated sound effects to heighten the tension, there are occasional burps of music and that too diegetic most of the times and all this excellent-excellent use/non-use of music is shown in the opening sequence where the couple play a music game and their soft music is overshadowed by some metallic rock. Also those who consider that all this is done by any cheap trick and by pulling on unexpected turns to keep us engaged, should understand that you can't find a better director who respects his viewers, there is nothing unexpected except if you base your expectations on the history of violence in movies. And here Haneke comes with a brilliant scene where what a sick-of-violence-and-full-of-revenge viewer will expect comes first, and then our tormentor rewinds the time and shows us what exactly happened, and it slaps the respite-hungry (by now) audience in a very positive way, what else for, a director will do that, if not for the respect of his crazy viewers. When we are talking about cheap tricks and sensationalism, you should see how coldly (?) Haneke deals with the killing of a child, the after-shot, that runs for more than 10 min reaffirms our faith in the sincerity of the director.

Just a kind, non-violent appeal to who-so-ever got to read it, "If you consider violence to be of any fun value, please see the movie"... ohhh I missed the name, its called Funny Games.


ventilatorblues said...

Good to see you writing again! In your inimitable style. Always a pleasure to read. :)

Alok said...

I don't know if it is moral high-handedness to condemn all kinds of entertainment derived from fictional violence. Of ocurse it should depend on the particular audience...

but yes the film offers great insights into the psychology of the audiences who crave and enjoy this kind of entertainment and also the mechanics of this kind of films.

the rewinding scene was the coup de grace. I will never to able to see another thriller in which something fortuitous happens to the detriment of the villains, without calling the director's bluff :-)

anurag said...

Deep, Thanks a lot.

Alok, Its very difficult to decide about moral high-handedness, I think I will still laugh at and probably enjoy too, the voilence in 'Pulp fiction' but will tend to hate Kill-Bill and some other revenge-saga movies more.

Rewinding scene is superb KLPD for the audience seeking any respite :))

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