Funny Games Film Analysis

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Analyzing Michael Haneke’s Funny Games In 1997, Austrian movie-goers were introduced to director Michael Haneke’s experimental horror film, Funny Games, which gave a glimpse into the torture and eventual murder of the suburban Farber family in their vacation lake house. The movie’s antagonists, Paul and Peter (alternatively referred to throughout the movie as Tom and Jerry), enter the home with a simple request of eggs for the neighbor who they are visiting. As tension escalates in the home between the two clean-cut boys and the family, George Farber is attacked by one of the men, leading to a string of sadistic torturous games. The boys make the ultimate bet with the Farbers: that they will be dead by 9am the next morning - forcing the family to fight for their lives. Unlike most American horror movies, Funny Games ends with the death of all of the protagonists, and the final scene alludes to a murderous killing cycle throughout the community. The most prominent theme discussed and displayed throughout Haneke’s film is the display of the fine line which distinguishes the difference between reality and nonreality. Haneke argues that we observe nonreality in a similar way to how we actively observe reality - making it difficult to distinguish between the two. This, he quips, has resulted in the desensitization of American audiences to violent images and concepts. While many artists have argued in the name of anti-desensitization in the media, Haneke’s approach emphasizes the importance of human observation. When Paul addresses the audience in the film (specifically known as “breaking the 4th wall”), he is showing his awareness of being watched, or observed, for the purpose of entertainment. By acknowledging this to the audience, audience members are essentially forced to question the correlation between unimaginable

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