Michael Haneke on the politics of narrative.

When Haneke lectures film students in Vienna, he sometimes shows them Harrison Ford in Air Force One, juxtaposing that film with Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin and Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. "The point is to show that Air Force One has a political message every bit as much as the other two. But with Hollywood films, the manipulation of the viewer is so total that they don't know they're being manipulated." He argues that the storytelling devices common in Hollywood are no longer available to post-Holocaust Europeans such as himself. As he recently told the New York Times: "In the German-speaking world, and in most of the rest of Europe, that type of straightforward storytelling, which the Nazis had made such good use of, came to be viewed with distrust. The danger hidden in storytelling became clear – how easy it was to manipulate the crowd." America, he argues, was never compelled to confront that hidden danger in narrative cinema.

from Stuart Jeffries' interview with Michael Haneke

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