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Be Afraid: Haneke's English-Lingo Remake "Funny Games" Moves Forward

by Anthony Kaufman
August 24, 2006 2:54 AM
3 Comments
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If there exists a more unnerving, wrenching movie than Michael Haneke's "Funny Games," I never want to see it. For about a year, the DVD sat on my living room table, and I finally got up the courage to watch it one stormy night -- and I can say that in some ways I regret I ever did, because it is so effectively, painfully harrowing.

Now it sounds like Haneke's English-language remake of "Funny Games" is moving ahead. The director has a high-profile cast (Tim Roth, Naomi Watts) and backers Celluloid Dreams, Halcyon Films and Tartan Films, according to today's Variety. The film is not part of Celluloid's new genre label, Celluloid NIghtmares, as was previously reported, because as I heard at Cannes, Haneke didn't want to be pigeonholed.

I can't imagine the English language version will be as cold-hearted and subversive as the original version, but then again, with popular, mainstream films such as Hostel and Saw and the U.S. government making torture an accepted aspect of everyday life, maybe Haneke has an even greater licence to upset than he did in 1997.

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3 Comments

  • anthony | August 25, 2006 2:03 AMReply

    Are you guys part of some Naomi Watts fan club or something? I didn't mean to slight Watts -- she's a terrific actress, and I only listed her second because Roth's casting was in the recent news.

    But I have seen the movie, more than once, and I think it's preposterous for you to claim that both adults are not extremely crucial to the story. So what if one outlives the other? Haneke is interrogating the dynamic within the entire suburban domestic space and family -- not just the female character.

  • pattonjr5 | August 24, 2006 11:25 AMReply

    your comparison w/a film by watts, roth, & haneke w/saw & hostel is preposterous. watts, of course, turned down the saw2 offer because she said she was done w/horror films. she does not consider haneke a horror film director. did you see cache? under that definition, you might include david lynch.

    btw, if you knew about the original, you would note that the male head of the family was not the lead. he was a wimp. the lead was suzanne lothar. naomi was picked earlier, & will move on to david cronenberg's eastern promises. tim roth was just picked & is clearly subordinate--once again if you saw the original.

    don't forget that this is naomi watts you are talking about. roth is a good character actor (i thought he would play one of the psychos) but not lead material like naomi has been since mulholland dr (if you have seen her in in & 21grams).

  • richard | August 24, 2006 8:38 AMReply

    you're slighting oscar-nominee naomi watts by listing her AFTER tim roth (though he's male). tim roth & his character george is NOT the lead of this film. naomi watts & her character anna is. so is susanne lothar & her character in the 1997 german original.

    i bet this wouldn't have happened if anna were played by nicole kidman or charlize theron.

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