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.
Gradually succumbing to dementia, George Laurent, the octogenarian patriarch of the Laurents, an affluent upper-bourgeois family, is uncomfortably sharing his palatial manor in Calais, the ... See full summary »
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.
As a massive Haneke fan, 71 Fragments and Time of the Wolf were the only films of his I had left to see. I ticked 71 Fragments off last night and was left feeling slightly underwhelmed. It isn't a bad film or anything, it's just very pedestrian for Michael. It lacks the emotional power of The Seventh Continent, the shock of Benny's Video and the technical skill of Code Unknown, yet it resembles all three. If those three films had a hideously depressing threesome, then 71 Fragments would probably be its mediocre child.
Thankfully it's not as horrifyingly boring as The Castle or the second half of Benny's Video, even though the plot description sounds like it could be. It follows about four unrelated characters going about their everyday business. There's a ping ponging student, a stowaway boy, a depressed couple and a lonely Granddad. Haneke gives us very brief snapshots of their lives which is reminiscent of Code Unknown and Happy End, although not as focused or engaging. I didn't find any of it boring, just a little bit repetitive. The ending also isn't as shocking as it would like to think it is.
So in the end, it's a well-made little film which some interesting themes and the odd great scene, however it's not worth going out of your way to find. To my mind, Haneke's greatest films are: Amour, The Piano Teacher and Hidden.
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