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Born: Munich, Germany, 1942.

Michael Haneke (JPG, 15 KB)

Austrian director and scriptwriter. A stage director, scriptwriter and director of television films since 1970, Haneke emerged in the 1990s as Austrian cinema's most significant talent internationally, with his bleak but compelling vision of the end of civilization. He made his mark early on with a number of television films which portray isolated individuals and understated relationships in a style reminiscent of Robert Bresson—such as Sperrmüll (1976), Lemminge (1979, two parts) and Wer war Edgar Allen? (1984). In 1989, he introduced a new aesthetic paradigm in Austrian cinema with his first feature Der Siebte Kontinent / The Seventh Continent (1989), which depicts with relentless logic the journey to collective suicide of a middle-class Viennese family. It was followed by Benny's Video (1992) and 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls (1994), forming a trilogy around the theme of narcissism, abjection and the coldness of personal contacts in the age of video, and portraying—through a disciplined, sparse style—what he has called "my country's emotional glaciation."

— Andrea Lang, Encylopedia of European Cinema

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This page was last updated on 23 July 2000.