• Michael Haneke gives a master class in cinematography at the University of Oviedo

    October 24, 2013

    The Faculty of Philosophy and Letters hosted the meeting between the winner of the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for Arts and students and young Asturian directors, in which he explained the key aspects of his creative works

    Image from the meeting with Michael Haneke

    "You can only work in this profession if you are obssessed by it so much that you cannot do any other thing". Michael Haneke (Munich, 1942) spoke this adamantly about his role as a film director. The Austrian director of German origin, whose movie Amour won him an Oscar, a Palme d'Or at the Cannes Festival and a Golden Globe, revealed the key aspects of his work before a young audience that filled the Library of Humanities.

    The act was presented by the Vice-Rector for University Extension and Communication, Vicente Domínguez, accompanied by Professor Margarita Blanco. Domínguez defined Haneke as "one of the greatest artists of our time" and felt honored by his presence at the University of Oviedo.

    The prestigious Austrian director argues that "the film-maker has to take his audience seriously"

    The director of movies such as Funny Games or Caché, among other titles of reference, stood by his decision of not revealing the acting keys of his movies, but he did explain his points of view on diverse topics related to his work as a director, in a dialog in which participated both young directors and the students. One of the first questions asked was about the responsibility of the directors and their social roles. "There is cinema as an artistic expresion, which plays an intellectual role, and then there is cinema as a business, which amounts to around 95% of the total. The problem is that education is in the hands of commercial cinema", argued Haneke, for whom "the director has to take his audience seriously".

    The works of Haneke are meant to open "a space of acting for the audience", through stories that are sometimes born from "a personal experience, and others from an idea or scene". The prestigious author considers that the success of any film "depends on a good script and an adequate casting".

    The meeting also touched upon the topic of violence, which is very present in the works of Haneke, although it appears "daily on the media, which has made the audiences used to it". As with other issues, Haneke's intention is to show reality and pose questions, without showing neither political nor social opinions on how they should be approached. "I am not a politician, nor a social worker, nor a person who wants to spread his ideas on these subjects", he affirmed. What he meant to show clearly is the "potential danger of turning ideas into ideology, as I tried to argue in The White Ribbon".

    In celebration of the Prince of Asturias Awards, the Foundation that organizes the awards and the University of Oviedo hosted a cycle of movies devoted to the full filmography of the director, between October 14-22, in Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés.