Movies at Home: Five Great Michael Haneke films on Amazon Prime

Happy Birthday, Michael Haneke!

Well, no matter how much you prepare for one of Haneke’s films, he always surprises, but it’s no shock that “Amour”, his 2012 movie about dementia, won the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Not just dementia, but this writer/director isn’t afraid to explore other pitch-black material, and in fact, he’s made a bright career in doing so.  Now, Haneke’s films aren’t apocalyptic, not on a grand scale, but instead, they sear into vastly troubling relationship or family dramas and are wrapped in disturbing intimacy.

Since March 23 is his 78th birthday, let’s look at five great Michael Haneke films, and they are all available for rent on Amazon Prime.

“Amour” (2012) – Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintigant), an elderly couple living in Paris, are still in love and embracing their golden years, but Haneke reminds us that a beautiful endgame isn’t a certainty.

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“Cache” (2005) – Anne (Juliette Binoche) and Georges (Daniel Auteuil) discover a VHS cassette at their door, and when they bring it inside and hit play, it’s a lengthy video of the front of their house.  Who would do such a thing?  Anne and Georges, who seemed to be living normal lives, are now caught in a psychological tailspin.

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“Funny Games” (1997) – Two early 20-somethings (Arno Frisch and Frank Giering), wearing sporty all-white clothing, talk their way into a pleasant household and suddenly terrorize an unsuspecting family.  Not for the squeamish.

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“The Piano Teacher” (2001) – Erika Kohut (Isabelle Huppert) is a highly respected piano player, and she also teaches the instrument.  After seeing Haneke’s movie, however, you’ll immediately go to Yelp and warn everyone, “Stay away from Ms. Kohut!  Take an online class instead.”

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“The White Ribbon” (2009) – Prior to WWI, the folks in a fictional German village live under strict spiritual statutes, and they feel the consequences when they stray.  Filmed in black and white, Haneke successfully opens up a distant time capsule, but the distressing events could take place at anytime, anywhere.

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