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.
Career Women in the Land of Lubitsch
Critics Molly Haskell and Farran Smith Nehme talk about the highly idiosyncratic heroines who populate Ernst Lubitsch’s comedies, including the protagonist of his final film, Cluny Brown.
Ritwik Ghatak’s Pursuit of Truth Beyond Realism
Acclaimed Indian filmmakers Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Kumar Shahani discuss how the Bengali master mixed expressionism and naturalism in his devastating domestic tragedy The Cloud-Capped Star.
A Howl of Defiance from the Italian Sixties
Marco Bellocchio’s subversive debut feature, Fists in the Pocket, emerged out of a period of social unrest, taking aim at both bourgeois values and Catholic hypocrisy.