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The Seventh Continent (1989)
"Der siebente Kontinent" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  14 April 1993 (France)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,361 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 34 critic

A European family who plan on escaping to Australia, seem caught up in their daily routine, only troubled by minor incidents. However, behind their apparent calm and repetitive existence, they are actually planning something sinister.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Birgit Doll ...
Anna Schober
...
Georg Schober
Leni Tanzer ...
Evi Schober
Udo Samel ...
Alexander
Silvia Fenz ...
Optiker Kundin
Robert Dietl
Elisabeth Rath ...
Lehrerin
Georges Kern
Georg Friedrich ...
Störungsdienst der Post
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Storyline

A European family who plan on escaping to Australia, seem caught up in their daily routine, only troubled by minor incidents. However, behind their apparent calm and repetitive existence, they are actually planning something sinister.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

14 April 1993 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Seventh Continent  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First part of Michael Haneke's "Glaciation Trilogy" also including Benny's Video (1992) and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994). See more »

Quotes

Anna Schober: Four days ago, at the beginning of the month, Georg started in his new position. It took him a lot to get there. You might remember that when he first started, his new boss didn't like him at all. But now he's made it. He brought new inspiration to the department. So when his boss fell ill with an intestinal problem and was off sick more than at work, Georg was asked to take over the department provisionally. His boss is retiring soon anyway. Georg's appointment as head of department is just a ...
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Connections

Followed by 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Send Me Roses
(uncredited)
Written by Günter Mokesch and Karin Raab
Performed by Günter Mokesch and Karin Raab
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User Reviews

An incredibly scary film
10 April 2010 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

A family, starved for attention and desperate to escape their daily life of abrasive routine, decide to turn things around one year and go against the routine. The film depicts their lives in three painful years of isolation, meaningless actions, and disillusionment. The first two-thirds of the film show the loud and hectic world that they are inexplicably a part of. Everything is just a series of actions. The semi-apocalyptic sequence shows a kind of desperate forcefulness of life that never breaks though, and the claustrophobic nature comes across as frighteningly unnerving. Tarkovsky would be proud.

The Seventh Continent was the second Michael Haneke film I had seen after The Piano Teacher. While I do not think that it is as honest a film as The Piano Teacher, I do applaud the fearless dynamic of the film to be completely devoid of style and of typical film conventions in order to depict a world that grows increasingly unpredictable and harrowing. The film is very Hitchcock-like in how it slowly and quietly builds it's themes involving desolate emotions. It is a tremendously scary film, but it is scary in a way that comes off a lot stronger after the film has finished and you allow it's images to swim around in your head for a while. The loss of passion and of feeling in a human being, to my knowledge, has never been depicted in such a pessimistic way.

This is a very angry film. This is a very resentful film. This is a film that celebrates sadness and anger and I hated watching it. When the film finds time to depict humanity, it writes it off like it is useless. What makes me even more angry about the film, in a way, is how you can almost feel Haneke behind the camera feeling resentful and wanting to punish the audience for wanting to view a film with a good story and a moving and engaging plot. Haneke goes so far out of his way to provide nothing in the way of narrative power and instead opts to craft an angry and traumatizing film. What makes the film work is it's power to provide some deeply haunting imagery and some truly worthwhile substance that I couldn't help but appreciate. Two of these three characters have complete control over everything that happens and they obviously feel that what they do in the final act of the film is most beneficial. Who am I to judge their own control over their lives. What pisses me off is how simple minded they are as characters. I just feel that Haneke prefers to emphasize these problems that these characters share, and what I am bothered by was that he didn't make it less obvious.

Overall, it's not one of Haneke's best films, but for a debut theatrical picture it is about as good as one can get. What strikes me as rather unusual about this film, when compared to his other films, is how it suffers from the same major problems that pretty much all of his films have. For example, he has never been able to build any sympathy with any of his characters, at least from the films of his that I've seen, and this film is no different in that regard. The film of his that I personally think suffers the most from it is Funny Games (both versions). With his picture Cache, it only became a problem early on in the film, and in Benny's Video and Hour of the Wolf it helped add to the atmosphere while damaging the humanity of the films in question. I think that The Seventh Continent shows plenty of promise with Haneke and is extremely riveting at times, but it's easily the absolute worst place to start if you are interested in getting into his films. It will not leave you with a good impression of his work, and only after watching Funny Games and Cache (his most easily accessible films in my opinion) will you be able to catch his reoccurring themes.


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