Haneke’s “Funny Games” (1998)
Going along with the movie theme we seem to be following, I recently saw “Funny Games” in a screening for another class, and in our discussion of the movie, I was struck by the overlap between this movie and the video game/RL frontier that we’ve been talking about. This movie is not for the squeamish. It is INTENSE and really stressful. These two innocent-looking twenty-somethings visit the lake house of an affluent family in Austria and basically torture them and kill them off in the span of the two or so hours of the film. But this is not the interesting part. The interesting part is that the assailants constantly break the “fourth wall” and address the audience directly, saying things like, “We should torture them a bit longer, right? We’re not up to feature-length yet, and you came to be entertained.” This is terrifying. And I think it’s a clear example of what we’ve been talking about, about how the real world and the world on our computers not only get confused for one another, but sometimes actually blur into each other. In this case, the effect was chilling and uncomfortable. I know we’ll talk more about when actual money gets worked into video games later, which is also an off-putting interaction between RL/fiction, but I thought this film served as a good other-media example of this principle.