Francois Truffaut
Exploring Michael Haneke: Benny's Video

Exploring Michael Haneke: Benny's Video

Benny's Video, the 1992 feature from director Michael Haneke, was the second installment in what many have called Haneke's Glaciation Trilogy. His feature debut, TheSeventh Continent, Benny's Video, and the wordy 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance make up this "Glaciation Trilogy". The trilogy examines the postmodern world and the alienation and isolation of individuals within it. Benny's Video shows a maladjusted 14-year-old boy whose bedroom looks more like a television studio with cameras scattered about catching every possible angle both inside of his room and out. Benny has fully retreated into the screens that surround him, succumbing to the violent images he watches on repeat. Unable to connect or relate to those in the real world, Benny has manufactured a microcosm of his own he can retreat to. The problem is, eventually, Benny's fabricated existence does not prove fulfilling enough for him, and he decides he needs to bring in an outsider. Forever mysticised by a video of a slaughtered pig, Benny gets the idea to replicate the video on a human being. He seems engrossed by the idea of acting out the violence he spends his days watching and even more interested in the idea of dominating a living person. When he acts out this fantasy on an unsuspecting girl his age, the audience is left shocked by his parent's decision to cover-up Benny's crime, leaving us to wonder how isolated the entire family is from the world in which they live.

SeptemBergman: Winter Light

SeptemBergman: Winter Light

If you would have told me a month ago that The Seventh Seal, one of my favorite films of all time, would be replaced as my favorite Bergman film, I wouldn't have believed you. But here I am, writing about Winter Light, my new favorite film by Ingmar Bergman.

SeptemBergman: Scenes from a Marriage

SeptemBergman: Scenes from a Marriage

In 1973, Ingmar Bergman took a less than optimistic look at marriage through his mini-series depicting the lives of a couple, married for a decade, in Scenes from a Marriage. Starring Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, Scenes from a Marriage takes an almost documentarian eye on the complexities of a marriage as it is on the precipice, several times, of either falling apart or falling together. The interactions between the couple are filmed in such a claustrophobic way that the audience becomes voyeurs watching the most intimate details in the lives of others. Despite the audience feeling as though they don't belong in the innermost crevices of these lives, Ingmar Bergman films each moment in such a gentle humanist way that perfectly explores the stages of a relationship.

SeptemBergman: The Passion of Anna

SeptemBergman: The Passion of Anna

The Passion of Anna, my ninth entry in #SeptemBergman, marked my first time seeing an Ingmar Bergman film in color. Released in 1969, The Passion of Anna explores isolation and tragedy in a humanistic way like only Ingmar Bergman could do. The deeply personal nature Bergman applies to the study of his characters is fascinating and provides a depth I have scarcely seen in other filmmaker's output. Starring Bergman regulars Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann, The Passion of Anna is a gamble in a deconstructionist narrative that hits the jackpot.

SeptemBergman: Shame

SeptemBergman: Shame

While deciding whether or not to make a film covering the Algerian War, Francois Truffaut, the French master of cinema, eventually decided not to take on the task because he felt as though "to show something is to ennoble it". Truffaut further claims in a publication in 1960, that an anti-war film is a contradiction in terms, a sentiment which I tend to agree with. Shame, directed by Ingmar Bergman in 1968, challenges that idea. Depicting a couple who attempt to shield themselves from the war being waged around them, Shame is a powerful statement proving there is no winning on either side of a war.

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