A 14-year-old video enthusiast is so caught up in film fantasy that he can no longer relate to the real world, to such an extent that he commits murder and records an on-camera confession for his parents.
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.
Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
In an undefined time, the environment has been totally destroyed and now the water is contaminated and the animals have been burned. Georges Laurent travels with her wife Anne Laurent, their teenage daughter Eva and their son Ben from the city to their cabin in the countryside. On the arrival, they find that intruders have broken in the house, and one stranger kills George. Anne, Eva and Ben wander through the village asking for shelter and supplies for their acquaintances, but they refuse to help them. They reach an abandoned barn and spend the night inside. On the next morning, they meet a teenage boy and they walk together to a train station, where they find other survivors. Together, they wait for the train expecting to go to a better place in the middle of the chaos. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Near the end, Ben's nose is bleeding and he is awake and crying. He wipes the blood from his face and more blood seems to run from his nose across his cheek - but when he sniffs and his cheek moves, the stream of blood does not move with the cheek. See more »
A French woman (Isabelle Huppert) and her two young children struggle for survival shortly after an unidentified apocalypse. This is a very different sort of post-apocalyptic film--it is very minimalist and dramatic. The most fascinating aspect is that whatever happened to the world is never explained or even discussed by the characters. The only thing they know is that uncontaminated water is scarce and personal belongings are very valuable. They are living in the present, fighting for survival. The characters are often devoid of extreme emotion during the crises they face in the film, so the viewer assumes that whatever happened that changed the world must have been graphic and brutal.
Haneke is an exceptional filmmaker and has quite an eye. The combination of lingering camera-work and lack of score create an uneasy tension. Some might argue that the movie is boring because there isn't much action, but I thought it was visually stunning. The movie attempts to be about post-apocalypse social struggle and power--including conflict between different nationalities and genders--but it could have been more successful in doing this. The acting is outstanding (especially by Huppert and the actress that plays her daughter). Even though she gets co-billing, Beatrice Dalle is only in the film for a bit, but she does have a "Betty Blue"-style freak-out. I recommend this to anyone who likes post-apocalypse movies and is interested in seeing a hauntingly realistic one.
My Rating: 7/10
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