If there exists a more unnerving, wrenching movie than Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games,” I never want to see it. For about a year, the DVD sat on my living room table, and I finally got up the courage to watch it one stormy night — and I can say that in some ways I regret I ever did, because it is so effectively, painfully harrowing.
Now it sounds like Haneke’s English-language remake of “Funny Games” is moving ahead. The director has a high-profile cast (Tim Roth, Naomi Watts) and backers Celluloid Dreams, Halcyon Films and Tartan Films, according to today’s Variety. The film is not part of Celluloid’s new genre label, Celluloid NIghtmares, as was previously reported, because as I heard at Cannes, Haneke didn’t want to be pigeonholed.
I can’t imagine the English language version will be as cold-hearted and subversive as the original version, but then again, with popular, mainstream films such as Hostel and Saw and the U.S. government making torture an accepted aspect of everyday life, maybe Haneke has an even greater licence to upset than he did in 1997.