No stranger to Cannes, Michael Haneke’s “The Piano Teacher”(2001) won a Jury Grand Prize, and “Cache” (2005) earned him a Best Director award. Five times nominated for the Palme D’Or, he finally won last spring for his latest, “White Ribbon,” which will be submitted by Germany in the category of Best Foreign Film for next year’s Oscars.
The film is about a rash of mischievous acts of brutality that suddenly beset a German town on the eve of WWI, all for no apparent reason. In time, it becomes clear that they are related to an oppressive power structure that tolerates no dissension.
Education, in my opinion, is to break the individual personality to make it fit into society. For example, once I learned this word in English for when dogs aren’t trained, you say, “The dog isn’t housebroken.” And this “housebroken” is a word I really like because it already contains the word “broken.” So “housebroken” means, “Now the dog is ready to live with the other ones in the house.”
I think education is always the most dangerous subject because the moment education becomes an ideology, it becomes dangerous — and it usually comes to this point.
A certain genre of action movies, even when they are very well made, are for me unbearable because they make violence consumable — and violence is not consumable. If, as a viewer, you are used to seeing violence as a consumable article, it’s dangerous. If you grow up in the presence of consumable violence, I think it’s dangerous.
When I go to the cinema, when I’m reading a book, I will be inspired to think for myself. I don’t like books that explain to me their view of the world. I don’t like films that will explain the world to me, because it’s always a lie. A film has to be like a ski jump. The audience must be the jumper. My job is to construct a very strong ski jump for him to use, but I won’t make the jump. It’s important that the viewer has an active part. It’s not a one-way communication.
It’s the only honest point of view if you are writing something.
Most important for me is that I can do what I really want to do. And if people accept this and let me do it the way I want to do it — I’m not fixed in Germany or France, because I’m always doing my own thing. But if it’s not my desire, I will go to another place. I do it where I can work like I like to work.