September 30, 2007

Well Played, Poster: Funny Games

Speechless. I was, quite literally, speechless upon viewing the newly released poster for Michael Haneke's Americanised remake of his own Funny Games. I clicked on the thumbnail at IMP and just sat there staring. This poster makes me sad, but in the good way (not in the way that, say, the Hostel Part II posters made me depressed). It perfectly portrays the sense of helplessness and tragedy that is at the heart of Funny Games. If I didn't know the original movie is tragically misguided (in my eyes) then I would be instantly putting this towards the top of my Must See pile.

[click to enlarge Naomi's tear ducts]

As you can see, it is a very simple design, but the way that it has been rendered just makes it so much more than a simple movie-still-used-as-a-poster poster. The way the colours look just ever-so bleached from the image. The darkness throughout Naomi Watts' hair seems as black as midnight and her lips and iris look as if they are losing colour too. As if her will to live is slowly evaporating.

The equally simple, but oh-so effective, streak of tears is what really makes it so powerful. The most powerful moments in the original Funny Games (and by association Funny Games '08, considering it is a shot-for-shot remake) were when the husband and wife who have been taken hostage are by themselves and dealing what has transpired. The image used on this poster destills exactly what Funny Games should have been - an entirely serious tragedy. Alas, I am afraid to say that the movie itself plays way too much like a big gimmicky in-joke and not at all like the desperately soul-crushing experience that this poster promises.

Even the tagline - a line of dialogue from the film - "You must admit, you brought this on yourself" creates an incredible striking image in my mind, the opposite of it's intentions though. Whereas in the movie the line is jokey and as a laugh, but here it feels like a terrifying sinister omen.

One last observation. Does anybody else think this poster reminds them of a Criterion Collection DVD cover? In research for an upcoming thing I'm doing I've happened across many Criterion designs and they're, for the most part, quite excellent and often times better than the original movie poster. But this design is another to rank alongside Bug and American Gangster as one of the year's best posters, even though it is definitely the simplest and the most strikingly ordinary of the bunch, but that doesn't matter one iota. It's amazing how the simple image used on this poster can evoke so much more than a million crazy busy overflowing posters. And it could have been so very easy for the designers to fall into the trap of the empty space and merely had Naomi in the bottom right hand corner while the rest of the poster was filled with black empty nothingness. They actually utilised the space they have and, obviously I think, it has worked to their immense advantage.

...I still doubt I'll see the movie though because I had such an adverse reaction to the original and there's no reason to believe this one will be any different. Shame, really.

To see more of this series simply click the "Well Played Poster" tag below.


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Mr. Happy said...

Yeah, it's a cool poster.

JA said...

I just posted on it; thanks for the heads-up to it, Glenn! It's freaking GORGEOUS, I love love love it.

I'm gonna be predictable and nag at you and say I really think you should see the movie, Glenn. Just cuz we can argue more about it's merits then!

Kamikaze Camel said...


Paul Martin said...

Glenn, I just watched Funny Games and I loved it, as I have every other Haneke film, including The Piano Teacher, Hidden, and Time of the Wolf. Haneke is one of my favourite directors. I don't generally like horror films, but I love the way Haneke fuses social realism with horror. In Funny Games, Haneke is exploring themes that can also be seen in both Hidden and Time of the Wolf.

I though FG was full of genuine terror, and the rewind, while weird, is definitely playing with the audience and how they find themselves watching what should be unwatchable. Miike's Audition was like that, but in a different manner.

I'll definitely be seeing the remake, and the fact it stars Naomi Watts and Tim Roth is all the more reason to see it. It'll be very interesting to see Haneke remake his own film.

Andyderz said...

Funny Games was one of the most depressing films I have seen, I loved how Haneke plays games with the audience, giving us a little bit of hope then completely obliterating it!!

I am cautiously optimistic about the remake, Naomi Watts is good, and the poster is well done. Can't wait to see it!

Kamikaze Camel said...

I think I've said all I can say about Funny Games because the very reasons people like it are the very reasons I don't. For me, omnipitemt villains = boring and pointless, no matter how craftily it's done or what it represents.

That being said, the only Haneke I've genuinely loved was Hidden. I turned off Time of the Wolf, was a big baffled - but i just didn't care to solve - Code Unknown and I loved Isabelle Huppert in Piano Teacher, but thought the film was a bit hit-and-miss. He's just not for me.

Don't even get me started on Auditionthough. My feelings towards that are like the feelings for Funny Games trebbled. Quadrupled. Whatever.

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