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Friday, October 8, 2010

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, dir. wes craven, 1972
DAY OF THE WOMAN a.k.a. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, dir. meir zarchi, 1978



the last house on the left
an 'innocent' teenage girl, mari, and her friend phyllis accidentally befriend a group of criminals who proceed to kidnap, rape, and murder them, just on the outskirts of the farm that mari lives on. the criminals then find refuge at this 'last house on the left,' where mari's parents discover what has happened and decide to take revenge.

i spit on your grave
a female writer, jenny, leaves the city and goes to her cabin for the summer to work on her new book. while there, she is visciously attacked and brutally raped by a group of men for the first half of the film. for the second half, she has her revenge.


these low-budget, crude, nihilistic films were taboo-breaking in their depiction of rape and violence. they have long been considered to be 'exploitation.'


controversy rating: 4/10 (house), 7/10 (grave)
overall rating: 1/10 (house), 5/10 (grave)

the original tag-line to sell the last house on the left was: TO AVOID FAINTING - JUST KEEP REPEATING - IT'S ONLY A MOVIE. and apparently a lot of people did do just that when this film originally screened: fainted. so it sounds like it's going to be hard to sit through, right?

mostly: (i'm not the first to say it, i'm sure) i found this movie insanely cheesy. i'm not talking about the grainy 16mm film, or the fact that it was made with a shoestring budget, or even that the acting is at times (ie. most of the time) pretty poor (ie. very poor). those aspects may have even worked in favour of the film (please remember always my obsession with that which is trashy & beautiful & pure in the great name of CAMP), but unfortunately the backbone meant to hold everything together here to begin with is so unsturdy that the entire thing collapses.

there's a lot of stylist issues, for one. the folky soundtrack that doesn't fit in with the mood of the film at all? the editing back and forth between the slapstick cop humour and the rape scene? any and all tension / terror that could have been created by what is, and this is what does seem to be agreed on, a very uncomfortable rape scene, is ruined entirely by craven's inability to decide whether or not he wants to make a film that's terrifying and vile or whether or not he's just getting some sort of sick humour out of putting his characters through hell. inevitably: i feel no remorse for the characters because i think the director has no remorse for his characters. it's hard, then, to feel... shocked? scared? anything at all? of course the subject matter is terrible, but the film has to be believable to some degree for me to feel that it's terrible.

on top of that, i think what was just as troubling is that the film wasn't even cheesy enough to be funny. not that rape should be funny at all - i'm not saying that. but wes craven, later in his career, at least realizes that he's not actually very good at scaring people or creating any kind of tension, that most of what he's good at is punch-lines and shock value, so he ups the humour (see: every single nightmare on elm street film - and they get funnier with each one - and the scream trilogy). this film doesn't really have that going for it, because the rape scenes are still incredibly vile, and long, and not exactly something "easy" to watch. and then there's the music though? and the cuts? and i have no idea what i'm watching? it's like this film has no idea what it wants to be.

i would like to be able to say that for all it's boundary-pushing, i found something redeeming in this film, but the truth is that i couldn't, and i don't think i would ever watch it again.

it makes sense to me, though, to talk about house in relation to the (far superior) 1978 similarly-themed rape-and-revenge film, day of the woman, better known now as i spit on your grave. not only have both films been treated to re-makes very recently (the grave remake hits theaters today), but because they share a similar mythological history in the controversial film canon. you hear about them forever and ever, how they're so terrible and hard to sit through, there's so much emphasis put on just how long the rape scenes in these films are...

and really, they are. and house definitely isn't "comfortable" to watch. it's not really so much that i enjoyed (for lack of a better word) grave all that much, but in comparison to house, which we had watched not too long before, it was a big step up. all of the things that were problematic for me in house (in terms of the film-making) are gone here, for the most part. there are still some cheesy moments in the film (as it to be expected, maybe, from a 70s exploitation film), but overall the dramatic tension is at least there (i emphasize this because really - it's necessary that the film not be completely ridiculous if it actually plans to make me uncomfortable). the rape scenes are fucking silent except for panicked, terrible screaming and they never feel like they're going to end. they are gut-wrenching, and extremely difficult to watch. and because of this, you actually do give a shit about jenny, and you want her to get her revenge. thus, the second half of the film is fulfilling and (dare i say it?) fun to watch. it's not exactly a great work of art, but i think it holds up as one of the better films of this variety from the time period.

now, i've kept this in mind of course: these images, shocking as they are now, definitely would have been much more devastating to the audience that first viewed them, and house, at least, feels somewhat "tame" by today's standards. and at the end of the day, you have to remember what these films are: they are films that show women being degraded for, possibly, the purpose of "entertainment," which we should all agree, regardless of intent by the director, is fucked. but these films are unrelenting and boundary-pushing in this regard. grave stands the test of time; house does not.


controversy rating: 5/10 (house), 6/10 (grave)
overall rating: 2/10 (house), 6/10 (grave)

there's a certain touchiness and discomfort in being a man and reviewing these types of films. i simply cannot imagine how it would feel to be female and watching them. it almost seems like i can't experience the full extent of their disturbing impact and that i am less qualified to comment on them because of this.

that caveat aside, there’s one specific aspect that i would like to look at which comes out especially clearly when you compare these two films to each other. each presents a very different enactment of the revenge portion of the rape and revenge theme: in house, it is mari’s family who exacts revenge; she (along with phyllis, who is killed earlier and is not as prominent in the film) is killed. in grave, it is jennifer herself who exacts revenge; she isn’t killed.

we all understand the point behind the two act rape and revenge structure. the first is designed to be as brutal as possible to build up our sympathies with the main female character and our hatred of the rapists, while the latter is designed to give us some extreme form of emotional catharsis, pleasure and sense of justice in retribution. there is often also thought to be some sort of female-empowering element to the revenge portion of the films (this seems to often be the director’s intent, when the director is at least skilled enough to have a thought-out intent, unlike wes craven; grave is, after all, also known as day of the woman, which seems to suggest this feature). how do these two films compare with respect to this latter intent, of the revenge as having something (however nebulously stated) to do with female strength?

it seems clear that if we judge a rape and revenge film by how it executes this latter intent, grave succeeds and house fails. this is obvious. in grave, jennifer is the one exacting the revenge. she has gone through this atrocious experience, but at least she gets her own revenge, on her own terms. if the point of these films is about showing a female character as strong in her retaliation, well, jennifer cutting off the rapist’s balls and letting him bleed out in a bathtub does that.

in house, though, mari doesn’t get her own revenge (particularly troubling is the fact that phyllis is completely forgotten here. there is no sense that this revenge is even remotely about her). the film seems to be saying that not only does mari have to go through this atrocious experience, but she’s not even tough enough to get her own revenge, she’s not allowed to. she has to die and she has to be reliant on her parents to exact the revenge for her. but of course, she can’t even witness any of this that's done on her behalf. so where is the actual revenge portion of the film, if that revenge is taken to be for the sake of or on behalf of the female character? it’s simply not there, and the revenge shown seems more for the sake of her family and their pain (though obviously closely linked to mari's).

it’s no doubt stifling to hold that a type/structure of film should have a particular ending or content, and i don’t want to say anything that definitive. however, when a film has such emotionally charged content, we do need to question not just whether the film is "good" but what sort of statement the director is using the rape and revenge trope to make. grave's at the very least seems a bit more respectable.

no film from this subgenre is ever pleasant, and all are offensive and questionable in intent, but in the end, grave at least works as a rape and revenge film while house fails. last house on the left is a laughably idiotic, terrible, poorly made film while i spit on your grave is a genuinely uncomfortable, not great but not awful, sometimes well shot and composed film.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BASIC INSTINCT, dir. paul verhoeven, 1992



no, really. that's the fucking summary.


negative portrayals of lesbianism, offensive violence, initial x-rating, and voyeuristic, sensational, gratuitous sex (from filmsite.org). also, there were numerous protests about the film re: misogyny and homophobia.


controversy rating: 4/10
overall rating: 8/10

here’s what you cannot understand until you see this for yourself and what i won’t be able to fully explain to you: basic instinct is, without a doubt, the sexiest thing that has happened in my life. and i’ve had sex with ladies. every single thing sharon stone says and does, every tiny inflection in her voice and slight movement of her body, is just dripping with sexual fluids. i had never even imagined that this level of seduction and eroticism was possible and the fact that it occurred in a mainstream movie floors me. while there are innumerable “sexy” films out there (including many of the ones CMC has watched e.g. in the realm of the senses), there’s nothing that comes close to this.

there is a downside: michael douglas and his bootface.


controversy rating: 3/10
overall rating: 7/10

uh, basically it goes like this: i thought i was gay and then i saw basic instinct.

really. what else do you want me to say? did you SEE sharon stone in this movie? okay, i'm not going to talk about this too much because jason already gushed. this is politically incorrect of me, no? i'm falling into the trap of sexploitation? oh, damn.

it's kind of hard to say "basic instinct" out loud. fucking seriously. try this shit out. basic instichkt? that's what always seems to come out. PAUL VERHOEVEN, why did you name your movie BASIC INSTINCT? come on, dude.

okay. seriously, though. the controversy about this film being too sexy, too violent? okay, maybe, yes, it's fucking sexy and pretty violent. so if you're afraid of those things, run. is it basically just a trashy pulp novel except on a screen? yes, of course it is! but we all want something trashy sometimes, right?

okay. okay. i'll get political here for a moment. bear with me. so, the film was protested by gay rights groups. this is something that intrigued me (because i'm a total queer). yes, it does have completely negative portrayals of gay people in it, but i don't feel like the film is trying to say "lesbians are evil." or "women are evil." and i understand that a lot of gay men and women feel like they need (and especially at the time, i'm sure, needed) positive images of gay life. or even better, as i've heard it said: "real images of gay life," bad or good. this film definitely does not offer that at all. the images here are not realistic: they are the product of pulp, of trash.

but really though: as much as it might've pissed some people off then, time has passed and i can definitely watch it for all that it is: it's a hollywood movie, what were you expecting? if you read the celluloid closet, you'll see that this kind of stereotype has been perpetuated by hollywood over and over again since its inception, and really, hollywood hasn't made much progress. yes, we had brokeback mountain, right? but didn't you notice that the queer had to die at the end of that movie too?

i think basic instinct doesn't piss me off because the film is at least completely aware that it's a trashy movie and it plays with it; it doesn't portray itself to be a beautiful, oscar-winning movie that still has a little bit of fag-bashing in it (maybe i should make it clear here that i don't hate brokeback mountain, by the way, but i also don't think it's the "saviour of gay cinema" that many others do, because it does still follow a very ingrained trend). and also, if you look at the time period it was made, it's interesting because queer film was really hitting a stride then: gregg araki, todd haynes, bruce labruce, rose troche, derek jarman, tom kalin, cheryl dunye, jennie livingston... the list goes on. all of this, of course, was happening outside of hollywood. i suppose that might be all the more reason why this film did piss people off; finally they were seeing images that they did relate to and then hollywood had to go and make this movie.

regardless, i had a lot of fun watching this film and i think i just knew not to take it very seriously (we are talking about the guy who made starship troopers here), and i think if you go into it with that frame of mind (and of course, if you enjoy trashy movies), you'll probably dig it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

UNE VRAIE JEUNE FILLE, dir. catherine breillat, 1976


a surreal film about a fourteen-year-old girl and her blossoming sexuality over the course of a summer holiday from school.


this film was banned in france when it was released, and wasn't widely available again until 25 years later due to it's "shocking sexual content," which includes closeups of genitalia, a fascination with bodily fluids and smells (vomit, urination, vaginal secretions), and sexual fantasies that included having a live worm cut up and rubbed all over her vagina.


controversy rating: 5.5/10
overall rating: 7.5/10

a real young girl (the english translation of the french title) was the third of catherine breillat's films that we have watched for controversial movie club (the other two being fat girl and romance... we will talk about those in more detail later), and my least favourite of the three so far, although simultaneously this film had moments in it which i liked far more than anything in the other two. the dream sequences in this film are absolutely amazing, beautiful and very, very strange, still, and quiet. however, overall i found that this film didn't stand up to the other two in terms of how well put-together they were. this film is very raw and jagged, meandering, and poorly paced, which at times is the reason it's a beautiful film and at other times is the reason you might start to get a little bored.

highly reccomended, though, for fans of surrealism, dreams, and slow, beautiful, meandering shots re: sexuality. the tone of this in a lot of places reminded me of a much more perverted version of picnic at hanging rock (which is a personal favourite of mine). i also reccomend this (and every breillat film i've seen yet) to anyone interested in boundary-pushing filmmaking about female sexuality, from a woman's perspective.

though i understand how this could've been banned at the time of its release, in comparison to other films from this time period that were banned for showing rampid female nudity (such as the rape-and-revenge flick i spit on your grave) it makes much more of an artistic statement. the obsession with bodily fluids reminded me of jean genet's work, and it's interesting because this kind of sexuality is frequented attributed to men (and gay men especially), not women. that may also be a reason i found this movie so compelling: it made me feel closer to the subject, but that's a completely personal thing.


controversy rating: 6/10
overall rating: 6/10

i’ve now seen three and half of catherine breillet’s films (romance, fat girl, a real young girl and part of anatomy of hell on the television late one night) and while they’re all undoubtedly and unfortunately flawed, they all have very attractive qualities to them that cause me to have them on my mind much longer than i do many others. there’s a reason CMC watched three of her films all pretty close to one another.

the lanquid, relentlessly hazy and slow-moving atmosphere of a real young girl might put some off but it was a perfect reflection of the sort of summer that you would have when you were 14. slow and aimless with nothing to accomplish because you have no job, no responsibilities and no real interests to keep you going. alice, at least, has her desire for sex.

breillet’s examinations of emerging female sexuality fascinate me. obviously, this is partly because it’s something i can’t possibly experience. while i can’t really judge how female viewers respond to them and whether they consider them to be accurate representations or not, what interests me the most, perhaps, is the effect that they (are designed to) have on male viewers. they seem as though they are meant to expose masculine discomfort with forward, frank woman who are starting to take control of their sex-lives (not just in beginning to have one at all, as alice does, but also those who are doing so after a long unhappy period, as marie in romance does). this feature is most obvious in a real young girl, given that alice is only 14. we're faced with not only her powerful sexuality (even setting aside the nudity, witness how restlessly sensual alice's movements around her house and yard are), but also the fact that this intensity is coming from someone who is so young, compared to, i imagine, most viewers. these are completely natural happenings, but ones which we don’t often see depicted (or at least, not this effectively). they aren’t abstract ruminations or fictional romantic fantasies. this is an utterly concrete event for alice and the viewer, shown best by the use of intense tactility: vaginal fluids smeared on walls, vomit, earwax, pubic hair, sweat, grains of sand rubbed into skin. while her characters might be a bit stilted or talk as though they are in a mid-to-late twentieth-century, well, french novel, the way breillet portrays alice as above all else an immediate, physical being is great.

so why is this only a 6/10? i’m simply not entirely sure. while there are high points, the slow-moving and sometimes disconnected nature eventually got frustrating. maybe the 6 is influenced by the fact that i had previously seen romance and fat girl, both of which i liked a bit more.

finally, one thing you cannot help but notice is that all of breillet’s films (at least those we’ve watched so far) have not only very similar themes, but also very similar plots and structures, right down to the unexpected event leading to death almost immediately before the credits. for some reason this doesn’t bother me about her. i enjoy the fact that, instead of bouncing from work to work and idea to idea, she keeps figuring out and honing in on this one rather specific idea from a variety of slightly different angles. there’s more than enough interesting things to say about her topic and i love her persistence.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BAISE MOI, dir. virginie despentes & coralie trinh thi, 2000


after a chance encounter, two women embark on an explosive journey of sex and murder.


copious amounts of (unsimulated) sex, murder, rape, all at the hands of WOMEN. what? WOMEN? no, but really. apparently that's a big problem. for FRANCE.


controversy rating: 5/10
overall rating: 4/10

this was a huge disappointment for me. it had everything i had previously thought that i would want in a film: tough independent french babes and watching those tough independent french babes rob, fuck and kill dudes. unfortunately, nothing cohered and it ended up feeling like a mess that was maybe at one point near the beginning almost under control of the director, but not really. after a while of thinking about it, i realized that there was something about the specific style of the shots which i found to be the most grating and infuriating thing about the film. they were often unnecessarily close to the actors, and while this might be argued to have been done for some sense of immediacy or engagement with the (sexual and/or violent) events, to me it felt accidental and clumsy.

full disclosure: i did go home after watching baise moi and immediately look up porn that the one of the duo, karen lancaume, had starred in. here at CMC, we take our research very seriously.


controversy rating: 6/10
overall rating: 3/10

i was excited about this movie for a few pretty obvious reasons, mostly: badass girls on the run, killing and fucking the whole way? sounds like a rad movie, right? also, it was the first film to be banned in france in 28 years, and it was banned right here in ontario, as well. unfortunately, it's pretty boring.

honestly. i don't know what it says about me as a person or whatever when i'm bored by a film that includes rape, killing, and lots of unsimulated sex scenes. but the thing is, they're all executed pretty poorly, the movie comes off pretty sloppy, and in the end i didn't find it very effective. it's not that i'm annoyed, per se, by "gritty" or "amateur" looking films, at all; but a film still has to hold up underneath whatever kind of texture it's built on, and this one just doesn't.

which is shitty, too, because i think it has some really badass potential.

i feel similarly about this film as i did about gaspar noe's i stand alone (which even plays on a television set in the background of a scene in this film), and i won't go into too much detail about that right now since i have yet to review that film and will be. however, there's something irritating about the tone of both of these films. and i'm all for nihilism, so i'm confused as to what it is exactly that's bothering me. i'll have to think on it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

HEI TAI YANG 731, tun fei mou, 1988


japanese troops round up chinese and russian prisoners of war and take them to a place called squadron 731, where they are grotesquely tortured and experimented on to test new biological weapons.


insanely graphic, unrated, brutal torture scenes, and of course the fact that this historical movie discusses a part of japanese history which no one wants to remember.


controversy rating: 8.5/10
overall rating: 7/10

better known by its english title, men behind the sun, this film from hong kong is one of the more devasating films on our list. after reading about it on the internet and seeing some stills, i knew this was going to be the one that i might have the hardest time stomaching. which is also why we put off watching it for a long time.

then, they ended up screening it at an art gallery in kensington market called double double land, so we decided we should go (where we had seen antichrist a few weeks earlier; our review of that will be posted here at a later date). a few things to note, however: the version that we saw was dubbed in english (bummer) and we were two of about eight people who showed up, and by the end of the film, it was just us, another guy, and the guy who ran the gallery.

i can understand why this film would get some walk-outs; it is definitely brutal in terms of the images it chooses to show. however, i think jason and i both agreed that it needed to be that graphic to make its point. it's kind of a chinese salo, if you will: a disgusting, ruthless torture film that is, at its heart, a massive political outcry.

one storyline that stuck out to me, in particular, within the film was about one of the young soldiers of the 731 squadron and a young boy who seems to live just outside of the compound. they develop an almost playful relationship throughout the film, but the soldier ends up giving up the boy (unknowingly) and starts to doubt why he is there in the first place. also, a japanese flag covered in blood?

i might like to see this film again someday in the distant future in its original language(s), considering the english-dubbed experience is always a tad ridiculous, and made the movie seem more sentimental than i think it might've actually been. but, for now, i think i'm sated re: biological warfare torture flicks.


controversy rating: 8/10
overall rating: 6/10

first off, we had to see this one dubbed. i’m not positive, but i’m pretty sure that some of the voice actors were british. as you can imagine, hearing a swanky british voice come out of a chinese actor’s mouth while they’re trying to be exceptionally serious and while they’re immersed in this despicable situation was off-putting. we’ll set this fact aside for the rest of the review.

there was a period during the beginning when i actually thought this would be a good film. as i’ve learned more and more from CMC, gore doesn’t really bother me, and it seemed appropriate, even necessary, (and crucially, not exploitative) to show it, given how awful the events actually were. this seemed especially important to me since the subject matter is something that i imagine most westerners are not familiar with from their WWII-era history class. but it felt like the film derailed partway through and by the second half or so i was getting antsy to just be done with it.

the explicit scenes were some of the most difficult we’ve watched yet. a woman is exposed to extreme cold for hours and then has her hands hit with wooden sticks (cf. the still above), a man is put in an extreme pressure chamber until he’s crushed and his intestines shoot out from him, an adolescent boy has an autopsy performed on him while he’s still alive (some of the footage is of a real autopsy on a boy who’d died in the area they were filming and who’s parents consented to letting them use his body). strangely, i found the few scenes where we see the older japanese man whose job it is to cut up and burn the bodies prancing around, continually drunk and singing, to be very effective and almost moving.

as jordaan mentioned in his review, this was the one from our CMC list that he was least looking forward to and it was the one which i thought i was most likely to be disturbed by. but, probably because of the amount we’d hyped ourselves up for how bad it would be, it ended up letting me down a little bit in that respect.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

PINK FLAMINGOS, dir. john waters, 1972


divine and her family live in a trailerpark and consider themselves to be "the filthiest people alive." however, connie and raymond marble, a deranged couple who impregnate girls and sell their babies, want to claim this title for themselves.


a very lengthy list of vile things happens in this film, and it was notorious when released and banned in several places. incest, illegal adoption rings, rape, chicken-killing, urination, unsimulated eating of dog feces... the list goes on. the dialogue in itself i think was completely shocking for the time of its release (and still wouldn't really make your mother very happy now). the original trailer for this film, for example, doesn't actually have a single shot of footage from the movie.


controversy rating: 6.5/10
overall rating: 9/10


this is the first film that we watched for controversial movie club, back at the end of '09. i had already seen it, but jason hadn't, and it seemed like an appropriate (and fun) way of starting off our adventure into disgusting films. there's not really much new for me to say about this film. you've all heard it: there's shit-eating, chicken-killing-and-raping, and a woman in a crib who loves eggs more than anything. i can certainly understand why this was controversial when it came out, and even still today, but also it's so fun that i can't really understand why anyone would really take much offense to it. unless they really love chickens.

here, this about sums it up:

INTERVIEWER #1: divine, are you a lesbian?
DIVINE: yes, i have done everything!
INTERVIEWER #2: does blood turn you on?
DIVINE: it does more than turn me on, mr. vader, it makes me COME. and more than the sight of it, i love the taste of it, the taste of hot, freshly killed blood!
INTERVIEWER #3: could you give us some of your political beliefs?
DIVINE: KILL EVERYONE NOW! condone first degree murder! advocate cannibalism! eat shit! filth are my politics, filth is my life!

'nuff said. if you like filthy movies and haven't seen this, WHAT UP.


controversy rating: 7/10
overall rating: 8/10

i’m pretty sure that my mental review when we finished watching pink flamingos was just the words “holy shit, what the fuck?” repeated over and over while giggling hysterically. this was the best possible way to kick off CMC. it was certainly controversial (sex, fetish sex, excrement, eating excrement, murder, selling babies harvested from kidnapped women), it was definitely fun , and it was completely awesome. kill everyone now!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

FUNNY GAMES, dir. michael haneke, 1997


for anna, georg, and their young son, summer holidays begin like a "genre film." at the end, everything turns out differently (from the cannes website).


nihilism! violence! no remorse! no guilt!


controversy rating: 4/10
overall rating: 6.5/10

funny games as scored by your favourite punk band:

gardeners are death!
upper class is murder!
white short-shorts are death!
golf is murder!
rationality is death!
yachting is murder!
politeness is death!


in a moment of cinematic bonding further cementing our controversial friendship, following the credits jordaan and i both immediately cited the same scene as the one which most impressed us in the film. after having watched one of the attackers make a sandwich while hearing a violent scuffle, blaring television and a single gunshot, the camera cuts to a static shot of the white/off-white/beige living room, with the couch blocking much of the foreground. we see the son almost out of the frame on the far right, on his stomach and with a spray of blood on the wall. the father is barely visible, blocked by the couch, as is the mother. after an uncomfortably long period, she calmly gets up and goes to the father, who is silent. for an uncomfortably long period, he then shrieks and wails while she holds him. she gets up again and says they need to get moving. what came to my mind first (though obviously is not the first) was kiyoshi kurosawa’s tactic of slow, often pulled back, shots in which the horrible/terrible event (most often a ghost advancing, as in retribution) are drawn out to a point where the horror/terror is lessened and becomes beautiful rather than merely scary. the same thing happens in this scene.


controversy rating: 4/10
overall rating: 7/10

people seem to get pretty up-in-arms about michael haneke, considering his films frequently don't end with a nice tied-up bow of narrative continuity or salvation for the characters. the audience is left asking more questions instead of being given answers. his films also tackle violent and sexual subject matter, but unlike most of the films we've seen in this club so far, the violence and sexuality in his films, and funny games definitely, happens off-screen entirely, instead focusing on the faces of victims / victimizers or the sounds coming from another room (which ends up being plenty effective).

while this wasn't my favourite michael haneke film, i definitely did enjoy it for the most part. some of the breaking-of-the-fourth-wall stuff was a bit annoying; it kind of beat the point of the film into the ground a bit more than i felt was necessary. i didn't give it a very high "controversy rating," and only because i feel like the way the film poses questions about violence without actually succumbing to the regular tropes of blood and guts separates it from other films of this genre. i guess that is controversial, in its own way, but that's a kind of controversy i can support!


they all die. isn't that cool?