7.11.09

Kafka's influence on Michael Haneke

The role Franz Kafka plays in the troubling films of Austrian director

Having recently seen Michael Haneke's Das SchloƟ [The Castle] (1997), film critic Peter Bradshaw sketches the influence of writer Franz Kafka in the Austrian director's work:
Kafkaesque is a word which has come to mean the individual's helplessness in the face of an incompetent or malign state apparatus. Haneke's film brings out the dimension of human pain: the pain of not knowing, not knowing what is going on, not knowing what you are supposed to be doing, or if something is your fault. The advances of the 20th century and beyond – rationalism, progress, science – are supposed to make things clearer and give us the answer in the end. But what if they don't? What if they can't eradicate human evil and what if all they do is intensify our agony at our ignorance and irrelevance? These are the ideas being gestured at in Haneke's films, and probably can't be appreciated without understanding this director's relationship with The Castle. At any rate, it's sent me back to Kafka's work. [Read More]