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Glocal Gloom: existential space in the French-language films of Michael Haneke

Ince, Kate (2011) Glocal Gloom: existential space in the French-language films of Michael Haneke. In: The Cinema of Michael Haneke: Europe Utopia. Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 85-93. ISBN 978-1906660307

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As Janet Harbord remarks at the start of her article for Vertigo on Haneke’s Code Unknown and Iňárritu’s Amores perros, recent interest in and debate about space and cinema ‘has everything to do with the current context, an age of globalisation, which has radically reconditioned our relationship to space’ (Harbord 2004: 3). Uncertainty about local life, decreased contact in local communities, the encroachment of electronic communications upon a large proportion of Western households and the ‘shrinking’ of space brought about by ever-increasing air travel are some of the social trends of globalisation Harbord considers, which with the release of films like Iňárritu’s more recent Babel, show no signs of disappearing from our cinema screens. Code Unknown is probably the film in which Haneke tackles the theme of the global city most directly, but running rapidly through his German-language then French-language filmography, it is immediately obvious that he has always been a filmmaker of space rather than place, in the sense that ‘local’ phenomena defined as events, customs or practices particular to one city, region or even nation, seem of little interest to him. Haneke’s eye is detained less by the quirky, the idiomatic or the quaint than by the flat, the anonymous and the expressionless: as Paul Arthur observes, ‘the treatment of urban exteriors in Hidden and Code Unknown recalls the huge architectural photostudies of Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky’.

Type of Work:Book Section
Date:December 2011 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Modern Languages
Subjects:N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Columbia University Press
ID Code:1271
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