Nearly three years since “Amour” nabbed a surprising five Oscar nominations—Best Picture, Best Foreign-Language Film, Best Actress Emmaneulle Riva, and Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Michael Haneke—details are emerging about the auteur’s long-awaited follow-up, including a title: “Happy End.”
Haneke, along with “Beasts of the Southern Wild” director Benh Zeitlin, beat out stiff competition that year to land in the final five, including Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”), Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”), and Ben Affleck (eventual Best Picture winner “Argo”). Though “Amour” only won the foreign-language prize—Best Director went to Ang Lee, for “Life of Pi”—its success with the Academy might have led one to expect that Haneke’s next project would come down the pike rather quickly. It was not to be, as The Playlist reported in June that Haneke had abandoned his long-gestating “Flashmob.”
Now, Haneke is set to take on Europe’s migrant crisis (indirectly, as is his wont) in “Happy End,” which will star frequent collaborator Isabelle Huppert (“Amour,” “The Time of the Wolf,” “The Piano Teacher”) and veteran “Amour” leading man Jean-Louis Trintignant. According to French outlet Challenges, the two-time Palme d’Or winner plans to begin filming this spring in the port city of Calais, the site of a migrant camp where thousands of migrants have been living as they try to enter the U.K. via the Channel tunnel.
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Haneke won’t be the first filmmaker to approach the subject of the recent influx migrants, many of whom are refugees from ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa: Jonas Carpignano’s acclaimed “Mediterranea” received an Indie Spirit nomination for Best First Feature last month, and Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki’s “Refugee” is slated to begin production next fall.