Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lemminge, Teil 1 Arkadien (Lemmings, Part 1: Arcadia)

Fascinating early work by Michael Haneke that fast will grab your attention, hold it and won't release you until the very end. Most impressive is that this was about the fourth Haneke film and is a made for TV movie! Yes a TV movie. But never before have seen a made for TV movie like this one, and have seen my good share of old TV movies from Europe.

To be brief I'll do a comparison as reference and because there has to be a relationship. This 1979 movie feels like Haneke's 1997 Funny Games as has similar storytelling style that magnificently introduces us to characters and slowly their downturn begins. It does not look like the mentioned movie as here I believe he goes darker, very darker, disturbingly darker. Not only with narrative but also with the use of light. Yes I believe this is darker than Funny Games that was strictly violent, disturbingly violent.

Written by Haneke tells a story of five teenagers, a slice of their lives that begin at one point and end at another point; nothing much is said about before and you have to imagine what follows after the end. But obviously that's not what movie is about. This is a strong exploration of post-war youth and how damaged they are thanks to living in a morally very restrictive society. As in many of Haneke's films story is set in the past but is truly impressive how current they are, even today, 33 years after first was screened on Austrian TV.

Even if is told in movie, let me share a definition of Lemmings, one that is not about the rodent: a member of any large group following an unthinking course towards mass destruction. That's exactly what movie is all about.

Never is too late to discover Michael Haneke's early work and my purpose is to eventually watch all his TV movies that seem have his very distinctive mark. This movie has a second part, Lemminge, Teil 2 Verletzungen (Lemmings, Part 2: Injuries) which obviously I'm dying to see.

If you wish to read detailed plot for both films I suggest you check an excerpt of the book Funny Frames: The Filmic Concepts of Michael Haneke by Oliver C. Speck, that you can find here.

If you enjoy the current work by master filmmaker Michael Haneke then this film is must be seen for you. Film was uploaded today here (has English subtitles) and strongly suggest you watch film in your TV, not your computer.

Big Enjoy!!!

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