Elsie Walker is writing a book about the sound tracks of Michael Haneke’s films called Hearing the Cinema of Michael Haneke (forthcoming with Oxford University Press). She co-created this video essay with Jacob T. Swinney, whose video essays for Slant, Fandor, and the Tribeca Film Festival are already world-renowned. This video essay (“Taking Time to Hear…”) is about sound as a kind of salvation. Haneke demands that we experience pain along with his characters but, contrary to many scholarly arguments that the director is a sadistic and cruel filmmaker, we explore how Haneke prompts us to experience a form of ultimate empathy.
*Warning, There are some major SPOILERS (or at least key moments from) half of Haneke’s filmography in the above video*
One thing that is beautifully done here, is that the text cards of the thesis are silent, and the clips from the film play out nearly so, this makes this a very different kind of video essay, and it’s a good one, albeit far too brief.