Dr. Dennis Eugene Russell is an Associate Professor of Journalism in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. He received his Ph.D in Communication from the University of Utah.
2011 0-7734-1490-8 Since 1989, Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke has earned the reputation of one of the most provocative and subversive auteurs in contemporary European art cinema. The focus of this book is Haneke's first four German-language films that represent a radical director's attempt to locate the root causes of a pervasive moral and psychological deterioration that has characterized Western culture since the latter stages of the twentieth century. Calling upon multiple theoretical approaches, this book entails a close-reading examination of Haneke's following works: The Seventh Continent (1989), Benny's Video (1992), 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994), and Funny Games (1997). These films have been selected for analysis because they encompass the major themes and philosophical concerns threading throughout Haneke's oeuvre: a nightmare vision of the First World teetering on the brink of catastrophe while awash in the excesses of advanced capitalism, obsessive consumerism, and media and technological dominance. This is not activist filmmaking in the sense of evoking change, but instead a radical cinema propelled by Haneke's aggressive methods of cultural vivisection. The book's target audiences are film scholars, graduate students in the fields of cinema analysis and critical studies, and art-cinema aficionados.