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Funny Games
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Length:1 Hour 43 Minutes
Cast:Michael Haneke, Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mhe, Arno Frisch

In this exploration of our violent society, writer and director Michael Haneke takes a disturbing look at how depictions of violence at once reflect and shape our culture. A well-to-do German family -- father George (Ulrich Muhe), mother Anna (Susanne Lothar), and son Georgie (Stefan Clapczynski) -- are settling in for the weekend at their vacation retreat near the lake. While George and his son head out for some sailing, a courteous young gentleman named Paul (Arno Frisch) appears at the door, asking if he can borrow some eggs. When he breaks them, Anna offers him some more, but the conversation soon takes an odd turn; Paul goes from pleasant to sniveling to confrontational, and he's soon joined by his friend Peter (Frank Giering). When George returns, he demands that Paul and Peter leave, but the two strangers refuse; Paul and Peter react with violence against George and his family, and they soon have the family tied up and begin torturing them. Peter and Paul occasionally refer to the camera in a manner recalling Bertolt Brecht, and near the end of the film, they even demand the opportunity to replay a scene so that they may mete out more punishment against their victims. The score includes classical selections by Mozart and Handel as well as performances by avant-garde composer John Zorn. Mark Deming

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