Accustomed to a trite routine of school activities, daily visits to a local video store and hours in front of his bedroom television, Benny finds himself enthralled by his tape of a slaughtered swine. Staying alone in his parents' apartment, Benny eventually brings home an unknown girl, immediately exposing her to the rapturous videotaping. Then, after revealing that he stole the gun that took the pig's life, Benny turns his unwrought curiosity into a slaughter video franchise. "I once saw a TV program about the tricks they use in action films," says Benny. "It's all ketchup and plastic." The second part of Michael Haneke's "Glaciation Trilogy."
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Kids these days. Benny's Video is the second part of Michael Haneke's "Glaciation Trilogy". Benny is a boy whose cool, abstract fascination with a video of a pig being slaughtered has horrific consequences. Young Benny's family is helmed by a cool, distant father, and a passive mother, each of whom finally take an interest in their disturbed child when it is far too late.
I love a film that surprises me; especially when the surprise, in retrospect, makes perfect sense given the logic of the film. Benny's Video has at least two such moments.
Haneke seems to want us to blame real-world violence on violent films and mass media. In fact, evidence suggests that human societies are getting progressively less violent over time, and there's no good evidence that violence in popular culture promotes violence in real life. But you don't have to buy an artist's premises to enjoy the artist's work. Benny's Video is a compelling and suspenseful portrait of a deeply dysfunctional family. Highly recommended.
Michael Haneke hates you. He hates you so very much that he takes the most sensitive part of your existence, your love for your child, and cruelly twists multiple knives of guilt, shame and desperation into your chest, all the while intently looking you in the eye. There is no greater portrayal of hate in any commercial film I have seen in my life that comes close to a Haneke film. If you want to witness the worst qualities of humanity, have at it. It's right here.