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Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke 2009.jpg
Haneke at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival
Born (1942-03-23) 23 March 1942 (age 81)
Munich, Germany
Nationality Austrian
Alma mater University of Vienna
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Years active 1974-present
Susanne Haneke
(m. 1983)
Children 1

Michael Haneke (German: [ˈhaːnəkə]; born 23 March 1942) is an Austrian film director and screenwriter. His work often examines social issues and depicts the feelings of estrangement experienced by individuals in modern society. Haneke has made films in French, German, and English and has worked in television and theatre, as well as cinema. He also teaches film direction at the Film Academy Vienna.

His directorial debut, The Seventh Continent, won the Bronze Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1989. He later won the Grand Prix at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival for The Piano Teacher and the Best Director Award for Caché at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. He subsequently directed the 2007 remake of his controversial 1997 film Funny Games.

At the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, his film The White Ribbon won the Palme d'Or, and at the 67th Golden Globe Awards the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2012, his film Amour premiered and competed at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The film would go on to win the Palme d'Or, making it his second win of the prestigious award in three years; this made him the seventh director to have won it twice and the only Austrian director to have accomplished this. The film received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Emmanuelle Riva; it won in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.

In 2013, Haneke won the Prince of Asturias Award for the arts. His twelfth and most recent film, Happy End, was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Life and career

Haneke is the son of German actor and director Fritz Haneke and Austrian actress Beatrix von Degenschild [de]. His stepfather, the composer Alexander Steinbrecher [de], had later married the mother of actor Christoph Waltz. Haneke was raised in the city of Wiener Neustadt, Austria.

Haneke showed a strong interest in literature and music, but as an adolescent developed a "downright contempt for any form of school". During this period of his life, he has later described himself as a "rebel". He had ambitions of becoming an actor in his youth, later abandoning these plans after failing an entrance examination at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna. He later attended the University of Vienna to study philosophy, psychology and drama. Not a committed student, he would spend most of his time attending local movie theatres. After leaving university, he began working odd jobs, before working as an editor and dramaturge at the southwestern German television station Südwestfunk from 1967 to 1970, a time during which he also worked as a film critic. He made his debut as a television director in 1974.

Haneke's feature film debut was 1989's The Seventh Continent, which served to trace out the violent and bold style that would bloom in later years. Three years later, the controversial Benny's Video put Haneke's name on the map. Haneke achieved great success in 2001 with the critically successful French film The Piano Teacher. It won the prestigious Grand Prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and also won its stars, Benoît Magimel and Isabelle Huppert, the Best Actor and Actress awards. He has worked with Juliette Binoche (Code Unknown in 2000 and Caché in 2005), after she expressed interest in working with him. Haneke frequently worked with real-life couple Ulrich Mühe and Susanne Lothar – thrice each.

His film, The White Ribbon, premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and won the Palme d'Or. The film is set in 1913 and deals with strange incidents in a small town in Northern Germany, depicting an authoritarian, fascist-like atmosphere, where children are subjected to rigid rules and suffer harsh punishments, and where strange deaths occur. In 2012, his film Amour also won the Palme d'Or.

Haneke says that films should offer viewers more space for imagination and self-reflection. Films that have too much detail and moral clarity, Haneke says, are used for mindless consumption by their viewers.

His 2012 film Amour won the Best Foreign Language Oscar and was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards. In 2013, he was the subject of the documentary film Michael H – Profession: Director. That year, Haneke won the Prince of Asturias Award for the arts.

In 2017, his twelfth film, Happy End, was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 70th Cannes Film Festival.

Stage work

Haneke has directed a number of stage productions in German, which include works by Strindberg, Goethe, and Heinrich von Kleist in Berlin, Munich and Vienna. In 2006 he gave his debut as an opera director, staging Mozart's Don Giovanni for the Opéra National de Paris at Palais Garnier when the theater's general manager was Gerard Mortier. In 2012, he was to direct Così fan tutte for the New York City Opera. This production had originally been commissioned by Jürgen Flimm for the Salzburg Festival 2009, but Haneke had to resign due to an illness preventing him from preparing the work. Haneke realized this production at Madrid's Teatro Real in 2013.


Feature films

Year Title Credited as Reception
Director Writer Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1989 The Seventh Continent Yes Yes 67% (6 reviews) 89 (7 reviews)
1992 Benny's Video Yes Yes 64% (11 reviews) 60 (9 reviews)
1994 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance Yes Yes 60% (5 reviews) 71 (8 reviews)
1995 The Moor’s Head No Yes N/A N/A
1997 Funny Games Yes Yes 71% (38 reviews) 69 (10 reviews)
2000 Code Unknown Yes Yes 75% (51 reviews) 74 (13 reviews)
2001 The Piano Teacher Yes Yes 73% (89 reviews) 79 (26 reviews)
2003 Time of the Wolf Yes Yes 67% (54 reviews) 71 (20 reviews)
2005 Caché Yes Yes 89% (135 reviews) 84 (37 reviews)
2007 Funny Games Yes Yes 51% (144 reviews) 44 (33 reviews)
2009 The White Ribbon Yes Yes 86% (147 reviews) 82 (33 reviews)
2012 Amour Yes Yes 93% (227 reviews) 94 (45 reviews)
2017 Happy End Yes Yes 70% (155 reviews) 72 (30 reviews)


Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer
1974 After Liverpool Yes Yes TV Movie
1976 Three Paths to the Lake Yes Yes
Sperrmüll Yes Yes
1979 Lemminge Yes Yes TV mini series; 2 episodes
1983 Variation - oder Daß es Utopien gibt, weiß ich selber! Yes Yes TV Movie
1984 Wer war Edgar Allan? Yes Yes
1986 Fraulein - Ein deutsches Melodram Yes Yes
1991 Nachruf für einen Mörder Yes Yes TV Movie Documentary
1993 Die Rebellion Yes Yes TV Movie
1997 The Castle Yes Yes
2013 Così Fan Tutte Yes No
TBA Kelvin's Book Yes Yes TV Series

Short films

  • Lumière and Company (1995) (segment "Michael Haneke/Vienne")

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2010 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film The White Ribbon Nominated
2013 Amour Won
Best Director Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
2002 British Academy Film Awards Best Film Not in the English Language The Piano Teacher Nominated
2010 The White Ribbon Nominated
2013 Amour Won
Best Direction Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
1997 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Funny Games Nominated
2000 Code Unknown Nominated
2000 The Piano Teacher Nominated
Grand Prix Won
2005 Palme d'Or Caché Nominated
Best Director Won
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Won
2009 Palme d'Or The White Ribbon Won
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury - Special Mention Won
Cinema Prize of the French National Education System Won
2012 Palme d'Or Amour Won
2017 Happy End Nominated
2006 César Awards Best Director Caché Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
2010 Best Foreign Film The White Ribbon Nominated
2013 Best Film Amour Won
Best Director Won
Best Original Screenplay Won
2006 David di Donatello Awards Best European Film Caché Nominated
2010 The White Ribbon Nominated
2013 Amour Won
1997 European Film Awards FIPRESCI Prize Benny's Video Won
1997 Best Screenwriter The Piano Teacher Nominated
2005 Best Director Caché Won
Best Screenwriter Nominated
2009 Best Film The White Ribbon Won
Best Director Won
Best Screenwriter Won
2012 Best Film Amour Won
Best Director Won
Best Screenwriter Nominated
2011 Goya Awards Best European Film The White Ribbon Nominated
2014 Amour Won
2003 Independent Spirit Awards Best International Film The Piano Teacher Nominated
2013 Amour Won
2012 National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Director Amour Won

See also

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