Over the last 25 years, Michael Haneke has established himself as the most influential filmmaker of his generation and as one of the most important directors in cinema history. From his early work through to the multi award-winning Amour, he has created a unique universe, revealing like no other the darkest corners of society, our existential fears and emotional outbursts.
Through interviews with Haneke and his actors - Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche, Emmanuelle Riva amongst many others - as well as previously unseen behind-the-scenes footage, this documentary uncovers the secrets of his working practice and depicts this rare artist, often seen as a cold, calculating creator, in a revealing, insightful and humane new light.
Since 1999, Yves Montmayeur has directed documentaries about films which are regularly screened at international festivals, with a predilection for Asian cinema and directors from countries such as Korea, Hong Kong and Japan. He has also made portraits of eccentric authors and unusual personalities: Michael Haneke, cinematographer Christopher Doyle and Italian actress-director Asia Argento.
Michael Haneke reiterates constantly that he doesn't want to talk about himself: “My private life must not interfere with the way audiences receive my movies!” So making a documentary about a director who rejects any investigation of his private life means having to adopt a more open approach that breaks through the 'professional' and rigid distance he deliberately creates. That's why I decided to make a portrait of the man at work. Through the nearly sacred intimacy of Haneke's creative process is the only way the man Michael can be detected behind his oeuvre.
Over the past 20 years, Michael has honoured me with his trust in the form of long and short interviews, both publicly and privately, about his notions of directing. I have come to understand how his view of the world engenders his cinematic approach.
As a result of this complicity and friendship I have been entrusted with shooting the making-ofs for most of his films. I continued to investigate his humanistic challenges, his obsessive characters and his artistic hesitations, intervening on several occasions to accompany this gestating artistic work. Beginning with the last Cannes Film Festival, where his film Amour won the Palme d'Or, then going back in time to movie sets in France and Germany, all the way back to his first steps in the movies, the wide-ranging depth of Michael H. will be revealed.
Michael Haneke: Himself
Yves Montmayeur: Director / writer / director of photography
Attila Boa: Director of Photography
Oliver Neumann: Editor
B&W and colour
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Original title: Michael Haneke: Porträt Eines Film-Handwerkers
DVD catalogue number: ART669DVD
A WILDart FILM, CRESCENDO FILMS and LES FILMS DU LOSANGE co-production