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Filmmakers in Focus: Michael Haneke
In this illustrated discussion, BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew and Catherine Wheatley, the author of two books on Michael Haneke’s work, examine what makes him such a distinctive, important and often controversial cinematic artist.
Over the last 30 years, the Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke has established himself as one of the leading figures in international cinema, winning major festival prizes and critical acclaim around the world for such extraordinary films as Hidden, The White Ribbon and Amour, now all available to watch on BFI Player. In this illustrated discussion, BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew and Catherine Wheatley, the author of two books on Haneke’s work, focus on these films and others to examine what makes him such a distinctive, important and often controversial cinematic artist.
Michael Haneke was born in 1942 to a German father and Austrian mother, both actors. In the late 1960s, after studying philosophy, psychology and drama at the University of Vienna, he began working for German and Austrian television, first as a writer and editor, then as the writer-director of a series of films whose audacity and seriousness of purpose anticipated his later theatrical releases. The first of these, The Seventh Continent, appeared in 1989, and over the next decade or so, with uncompromising, often award-winning films like Funny Games, Code Unknown and The Piano Teacher, he became a firm fixture on the festival and art-house circuit, reaching larger and more enthusiastic audiences with each new release. Recorded in February 2021.