The Seventh Continent


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Inspired by events the filmmaker read about in a newspaper, The Seventh Continent presents a a series of quotidian activities and incidents from the lives of an outwardly successful and normal Austrian bourgeois family - engineer George, optician Anna and their young daughter Eva - who decide to go to Australia, hitherto represented via utopian touristic imagery, and there kill themselves.

Divided into three years/chapters and narrated in Haneke's characteristic fragmentary, elliptical manner the film is also noteworthy for his absolute refusal of conventional audience identification techniques, denying us the face in particular in lieu of compositions that decapitate the protagonists and Bressonian close-ups of hands, feet and (other) objects.

The result is a disquietingly familiar yet strange world and, perhaps, a shattering indictment of contemporary society.

The question mark is whether, perhaps, Haneke's methods here might actually have proven too alienating and thereby to ironically mirror the very culture of non-communication and emotional deadness he seeks to critique.

Reviewed on: 03 Jan 2007
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The lives of a couple, whose successful appearance masks a deep malaise.
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Director: Michael Haneke

Writer: Michael Haneke, Johanna Teicht

Starring: Dieter Berner, Udo Samel, Leni Tanzer, Silvia Fenz, Robert Dietl, Birgit Doll, Georg Friedrich, Georges Kern, Elisabeth Rath, Meat Loaf, Jennifer Rush

Year: 1989

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Austria


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