The Wes Craven Retrospective: Deadly Blessing (1981)

As the 1970s were coming to an end, the cultural flavour of genre filmmaking was also undergoing some changes. The rogue and unrestrained atmosphere of exploitation films was shifting towards something more aesthetically refined and anchored more decisively in what was happening in mainstream cinema of the time, a post-nouvelle vague, iconoclastic, self-aware recalibration. Having completed The Last House On The Left and The Hills Have Eyes, both revered as exploitation classics, Wes Craven’s filmmaking was also signalling he was ready to evolve his style into something else entirely.  

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The Wes Craven Retrospective: The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Following his unexpectedly successful debut The Last House On The Left, Wes Craven ended up convinced to stay within the genre and cook up a worthy follow-up that would cement his stature as one of the up-and-coming voices in horror. Interestingly enough, he was initially quite hesitant because he feared he would paint himself into a corner. Little did he know that the corner he was painting himself into would be looked at with adulation by generations of filmmakers. That’s because similarly to George A. Romero, John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper – his contemporaries – he had a knack for distilling social anxieties into his stories and elevating what could otherwise be disposable exploitation films to become cultural icons.  

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Understanding Michael Haneke: 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994)

Released in 1994, 71 Fragments Of A Chronology Of Chance was meant to cap the so-called Glaciation Trilogy, which also includes Haneke’s two preceding efforts, The Seventh Continent and Benny’s Video. In some ways, this film seems symmetrical to both of them. It is inspired by a true story of a student who – out of nowhere – walked into a Viennese bank and opened fire killing a bunch of by-standers before blowing his own brains out, which tethers the film thematically to The Seventh Continent in particular. In addition, the entirety of its fragmented narrative is also interspersed with various bits of archival news footage mostly covering the Balkan War in graphic detail, which is consistent with the crucial role TV screens played in his other movies. However, this film did not resonate with me the way these other films did. 

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Understanding Michael Haneke: The Seventh Continent (1989)

This article is a part of a comprehensive journey through the cinema of Michael Haneke, an often-overlooked auteur whose cutting critical analysis continues to be relevant to this day.

Michael Haneke’s transition from the highly regimented and thematically constrained universe of television was allegedly catalyzed by a short news article about a regular Austrian family whose members decided to end their lives, seemingly without any valid reason. The Seventh Continent is Haneke’s attempt to wrestle with this moral puzzle.  

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