Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Watch: Michael Haneke Calls 'Downfall' "Repulsive & Dumb" & Explains His Issues With 'Schindler's List'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 14, 2012 at 3:27PM

The Oscar season is in full effect, with all kinds of talent out and about, talking to press, and stumping for their films. And as Joaquin Phoenix has learned, if you're not careful, fiery comments can come back to haunt you. Michael Haneke recently sat in on a discussion panel at THR with filmmakers and writers Judd Apatow, Mark Boal, David Magee, Chris Terrio and John Krasinski, and dropped some interesting criticisms of two celebrated films: "Downfall" and "Schindler's List." 
24
Downfall Schindler's List Michael Haneke

The Oscar season is in full effect, with all kinds of talent out and about, talking to press, and stumping for their films. And as Joaquin Phoenix has learned, if you're not careful, fiery comments can come back to haunt you. Michael Haneke recently sat in on a discussion panel at THR with filmmakers and writers Judd Apatow, Mark Boal, David Magee, Chris Terrio and John Krasinski, and dropped some interesting criticisms of two celebrated films: "Downfall" and "Schindler's List." 

Asked about the dangers of humanizing someone like Osama Bin Laden or Adolf Hitler on film, Haneke made his position very clear. "First of all I have to say that I argued with [screenwriter] Bernd Eichinger about the film. I found it both repulsive and dumb," he said. But Haneke's dismissal is deeply reasoned on a larger philosophical query on how this material should be approached. "...when you're dealing with a figure of such a deep and broad historical context, the question is, who are you humanizing, what are you doing with him? You're creating melodrama, you're trying to reach your spectators, to move your spectators, but what emotions are you calling on?"

"Responsibility entails enabling your audience to remain independent and free of manipulation," he continued, adding: "The question is how seriously do I take my viewer, to what extent do I provide him with the opportunity of creating his own opinion, [and] confront the historical context on their own?" But is there any movie that gets the Holocaust right? "For me, the only film about the Holocaust that, for me, is responsible as a filmmaker is Alain Resnais' 'Night and Fog,' " he declared.

In a room full of writers taking on historical moments like "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty," Haneke is ballsy but also doesn't pick on their projects in particular. He's speaking calmly on a broader context and his own thoughts, and they are undeniably fascinating. But why the moderator chooses to throw to John Krasinski to respond afterward is beyond us (though he handled it like a champ).

Watch the discussion below (Haneke's quotes start around the 8-minute mark) followed by the (NSFW) scene from "Schindler's List" and "Night and Fog" in full. 

This article is related to: Michael Haneke


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates