Wednesday, June 6, 2018


While Michael Haneke hasn't gone on record to mention Chantal Akerman as an influence on his work (he has cited the likes of Bresson, Pasolini, Tarkovsky, etc), the beautifully (sometimes) monotonous tone and overall ice cold ambiance (found in his early Austrian films) do share some similarities to the films of Chantal Akerman.
Below are some of my favorite examples of the (possible) influence that Akerman may have had on Haneke along with a few quotes from various critics connecting both filmmakers.


The film’s basic form—the mechanical repetition of everyday tasks leading to breakdown—is borrowed from Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles - Jason Bellamy on Haneke’s The Seventh Continent  

Though her legacy is inextricably linked to “Jeanne Dielman,” perhaps one of the three or four most important feminist texts ever produced in the medium, it was Akerman’s versatility that seems most impressive in retrospect. Who but a chameleonic, endlessly curious artist would be cited as an influence by the likes of Todd Haynes, Sally Potter, Michael Haneke, Gus Van Sant, and Tsai Ming-liang? - Sam Adams

Chief among such pictures is his first feature, Die Siebente Kontinent (The Seventh Continent, 1989)—one of the purest modernist texts since the height of Resnais and Antonioni, and perhaps the greatest contemporary contribution to what may be termed "the cinema of existentialism": the focus on the actions and morality of individuals in a seemingly empty universe found in the work of film-makers like Chantal Akerman - Adam Bingham

In Haneke's The Seventh Continent (right) we see the same dreary driving moment from Les Rendezvous D'Anna right down to the same empty/depressed look on the faces of the actresses in their respective films (middle panels)...
Les Rendezvous D'Anna / The Seventh Continent

Les Rendezvous D'Anna / The Piano Teacher

News From Home / Code Unknown
Obviously Chantal Akerman didn't invent the long-take tracking shot but given all the coincidences between Akerman's films & Haneke's films, it isn't that much of a reach to think Haneke drew some possible subconscious inspiration...
Les Rendezvous D'Anna
The Castle
Code Unknown
The Piano Teacher
Similar elevator shots...
Je Tu Il Elle /
The monotonous & lonely dinner routine...
Saute Ma Ville / 71 Fragments...

Saute Ma Ville /
71 Fragments
The monotony of the morning routine...
 La Chambre / The Seventh Continent 

Much like the tracking shot from Les Rendezvous D'Anna, Chantal Akerman was hardly the first to explore the idea of characters communicating through gadgets like ipads, iphones & laptops. But the way people communicate in Haneke's Happy End (2017) reminds me of Akerman's No Home Movie (2015)...
No Home Movie / Happy End

Both characters on the left request their "significant other" (on the right) to preform a task as a way of showing their dominance
Les Rendezvous D'Anna / The Piano Teacher


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