I must confess, I wouldn’t be as much of a movie fan as I am now if it weren’t for…
A story about a boy called Benny, who watches violent movies, including a home-made video of a pig being slaughtered. Soon after, Benny loses his mind and kills a girl and films the murder with his video camera.
I don’t hate Michael Haneke or his films. I do hate watching them though. They generate interesting conversation and explore worthwhile themes, but the act of sitting through his movies could hardly be described as a ‘fun time’, in fact, they are often soul-crushingly depressing. Benny’s Video is no different. This was made crystal clear when the film begins with a pig being killed by a cattle gun – Anton Chigurh style. Not just this, but we see the main character watch it on videotape, rewind, then watch again in slow motion.
The issue I have with Benny’s Video however, is that the message of the dehumanizing effect of the media is told in a didactic way, and the second…
This is a much more heavy-handed passive aggressive attack on modern media, especially the TV screen, a theme that i find within the majority of his works, but i prefer it so much more when he's being subtle about it. It appears to me, that his films fluctuate up and down the scale of how in your face they can be with their messages, i for one much prefer the cryptic nature of them as in Cache or Seventh Continent, as compared to Funny Games and Benny's Video.
It's rather soulless, Haneke wants you to see the weaknesses within yourself, to see a vast problem emerging, a difficult feat to force into the viewer, and for me this film was…
Benny's Video continues to deal in the dominant themes of Haneke's career, particularly regarding home invasions of influential outside elements into the otherwise sheltered domesticity aesthetic of the family. Benny's Video is both an early life depiction of unchecked consumer curiosity gone wild, and also loosely at home in an Omen-esque Viennese sub genre where not relating to your children becomes something more ominous.
Technically, there are some lovely moments here. Opening with and repeating the playback of a pivotal moment in a pig slaughter immediately submerges us into the world of a well-to-do Viennese teen, seemingly harmless but obviously and disturbingly entranced by violence. Later, there is an interesting scene when an earlier scene is rewinding within…
Michael Haneke delivered one of the most disturbing scenes in cinema history! With his propensity for exposing the ugliest most foul characteristics of mankind he was able to sink us even deeper into the quagmire of depravity by making us an accomplice to a horrendous crime!
Pay close attention to the film most fail to catch on to a significant plot twist! Hint: It's totally diabolical!
Benny’s Video is the second part of Haneke’s “Glaciation Trilogy” (which also includes The Seventh Continent and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance) and is primarily concerned with the isolation of youth and our exposure to violence. Though I’m a fan of Haneke’s more recent work, I find a lot of his earlier films to be preachy, sometimes even hectoring, and he and I fundamentally disagree on the issue of violence in cinema. It is therefore with a genuine sense of surprise that I can admit that I quite liked Benny’s Video.
The film follows a 14-year old boy, Benny…
Benny’s Video’s great success is that it forces you to think about how people, not least teenagers, can be influenced by the violence they see at the cinema, on TV and in the everyday World without hammering you over the head with an aggressive lecture. The film is slow, subtle and suggestive, and it treats the subject matter with immense seriousness. It explores notions of unconditional parental love and, perhaps more importantly, how cinema can be used to manipulate an audience. Haneke makes no bones about the fact that Benny has done something awful but he then spends the rest…
Benny seems like a normal 14 year old kid. He spends most of his time alone watching violent movies (especially one he filmed himself where a pig is killed). He is fascinated by death and one day he takes his fascination one step further when he kills a girl.
For every Michael Haneke movie I see, the more I like him. His movies stays with you for a very long time. Benny's Video is one of those "disturbing movies" that I've been wanting to see for a long time. It's the second part in Haneke's "emotional glaciations" trilogy and it's once again a disturbing look into the dark corners of the human psyche.
Arno Frisch who plays Benny is fantastic…
What makes a sociopath? Michael Haneke explores this theme in "Benny's Video", about a somewhat neglected teen who's captivated by video recordings. Benny meets a fellow teen at the local video rental shop, lures her to his home, and films himself killing her. When his parents return home, he shows them the video, and their reactions continue the psychology of the film. Haneke once again brilliantly refrains from judgment, allowing the audience to bear witness and to decide.
Michael Haneke, you son of a gun!
This movie plays like an interminable scared straight video made by your arty uncle about the dangers of using the television as a babysitter. I'm a sucker for long takes sans score to create a sense of every day malaise and ennui, however. Nothing spells existential angst like a long take of a teenager drinking a glass of milk or flicking through television ads while blasting German alt-grunge. Watching Benny's Video successfully slid me into the headspace of a sociopath, for whatever that's worth.
I did like the moral conundrum Haneke placed the parents in, and the cold long takes really made me squirm with them. "Benny's video" tensed me up as well…
Please don't read up what it's about, almost all plot summaries have spoilers in them.
This film is written very, very differently from not only what I expected it to be but also from Haneke's style. This is a film that explains everything and doesn't leave much to interpretation; that's both good and bad.
The performances, as always, are fantastic. Haneke is a director that clearly knows how to direct children (see The White Ribbon) and gets them to perform incredibly. The writing and overall story are beyond fantastic for the first 40 minutes. Then something happens, and changes the film quite a bit. That change does make more sense towards completing the story but I don't think it should…
A media-obssesed kid kills a young girl just to see 'what it's like', and his parents cover up the crime.
So far I have avoided watching any movies by Michael Haneke, since he's pretty much the archetype of the snotty European artsy-fartsy movie director. But I finally decided to check out some of his work, since it is being discussed so much.
At Imdb.com one commenter on this movie asks: "Should it be rated as a movie or as a Michael Haneke work?" That's a fair question, because without knowing about Haneke's 'insights' and merely judging the movie for what it is, I can say that's it is quite successful in depicting a creepy kid and his even more creepier…
Haneke offers yet another disturbing meditation on violence perpetrated by the upper-class, and the elasticity of the human mind upon exposure to media images. The film changes its tone completely in the third act, and unfortunately much of the tension is lost as a consequence.
I've finally worked out why Haneke can arouse discomfort in me more effectively than any other director. It's the discordant combination of a cold, bleak colour palette with meticulous close-ups and well-drawn characters. We are invited to share an intimate experience amidst an atmosphere that eschews warmth and familiarity. That ambivalent tug is so unsettling.
"If you bury something, it could reappear."
It's always hard to rate Michael Haneke films - I've never disliked any of his, but it's hard to say that I've 'liked' them, in the same way that I would be happy to see it multiple times. It's safe to say, however, that they're compelling to watch, and despite his consistent use of shocking and confronting subject matter there is much to appreciate in his filmmaking.
Benny's Video is a fairly accurate summation of his filmmaking style: everything is sparse, from the dialogue to the exclusive use of diagetic sound and lack of score, and in the paring away of its layers we're given a cold look at the increasingly anguish-ridden characters…
Haneke ist dann am stärksten, wenn seine Filme unspezifisch wirken. In "Bennys Video" inszeniert er zu didaktisch - das ist kunstwertiges Schulkino, dass in seinen Erklärungsansätzen ein wenig zu einfach ist. Die Obsession mit Metal ist ohnehin nur schwer nachzuvollziehen.
An interesting but ultimately very irregular film. The first half is great, very much in the spirit of Haneke's own The Seventh Continent. One can feel the tension building up and anticipate where it's all going: the main character's attitude, his obsessive renting of tapes from the video store, his dark room and his father telling him to air it out... The apparently odd beginning of the film, showing a home video of a pig slaughter, is not only difficult to forget but actually meaningful to the story. This interesting first half is however followed by a pretty dull and pointless second half that lacks interest, and which only purpose seems to be to lead to the ending.
A list of films about filmmaking. Suggestions are more than welcome.
Documentaries (and batteries) not included.
Each week I'll post a new letter and all you have to do is nominate a film that you think…