One of the key ways that Michael Haneke ropes viewers into Funny Games, his relentless, provocative psychological thriller about a brutal home invasion, is by regularly breaching the fourth wall. In the 1997 film, two high-spirited young men in tennis whites set their diabolical sights on a well-to-do family, breaking into their country home to torture them for sport—and in the process occasionally pausing the action to talk straight into the camera. The director intended these confidential asides as a method of drawing viewers’ attention to their own complicity in the sadistic “games” on display. In the above clip, taken from a supplement on our new edition of the film, Haneke talks about how the playful direct-to-camera addresses in a very different movie, Tony Richardson’s freewheeling picaresque Tom Jones, inspired his own self-referential strategy for examining violence in mass media—and our insatiable appetite for it.
William Wyler’s Subtly Cinematic Take on the Chamber Drama
Despite its cloistered setting, The Heiress is filled with moments of visual ingenuity and exquisite camera work that take viewers inside its heroine’s psychology.
What Makes Jackie Chan One of a Kind
One of today’s top action-comedy directors, Edgar Wright, breaks down the elements of the Hong Kong superstar’s charisma and how it has transcended cultural boundaries.
On the Road with Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg
In this excerpt from an interview on our new edition of A Face in the Crowd, author Ron Briley recounts the research that shaped the film’s insights on politics and media.