out of Five
Running time: 90
A well paced and gripping documentary exploring one of the most important directors working today, Michael H. Profession: Director is an absorbing and fascinating watch, with remarkable behind-the-scenes footage and insightful interviews with notable stars.
What’s it all about?
Directed by Yves Montmayeur, Michael H. Profession: Director is a fly-on-the-wall style documentary about Michael Haneke, the multiple Palme d’Or winning director, who took home the Best Foreign Film gong for Amour at this year’s Academy Awards. Speaking to many of his leading actors, including Emmanuelle Riva and Haneke regulars Juliette Binoche and Isabelle Huppert, as well as the man himself, the documentary explores Michael Haneke’s directing style, presenting insightful behind-the-scenes clips of the director at work in rehearsals and on set.
Those familiar with Haneke’s ambiguous and often disturbing films will adore this smart and reflective documentary, which is well paced and absorbing from start to finish. Focusing on a handful of films in particular (Amour, The White Ribbon, Hidden, The Piano Teacher and Funny Games), director Yves Montmayeur (who shot most of the making-ofs for most of Haneke’s films) presents an intensive portrait of the Austrian filmmaker that’s made all the more engrossing by the featured interviews with his leading ladies. In particular, it’s great to see Emmanuelle Riva in action in the role that garnered her a BAFTA win and an Oscar nomination, as well as her discussing her experience of working with Haneke. The engaging clips of audiences’ reactions after watching Funny Games in 1997 are also worth mentioning.
The riveting scenes of Michael Haneke directing his stars in award-winning films such as Amour and The White Ribbon are just incredible and are without doubt the most fascinating parts of the documentary. It’s enthralling to see how the director interacts with his cast and the rehearsal scenes, in particular, show an enlightening view of Haneke’s creative process and how he’s become renowned for his ability to challenge the expectations of his audiences. When Haneke speaks to the camera, he’s expectedly guarded about certain questions (mostly involving the interpretation of his films), but nevertheless his discussing of his childhood and his reasoning for tackling suffering in his films, as well as the ‘grotesque’ and ‘idiotic’ offers he’s had from Hollywood (which needless to say, he’s rejected), provide plenty more interesting moments.
With its narrative momentum, insightful interviews and fascinating behind-the-scenes clips,
Michael H. Profession: Director is a must-watch for fans of Michael Haneke and his work. Don’t miss it.
Michael H. Profession: Director (tbc)