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Austria 1992
Directed by
Michael Haneke
105 minutes
Rated MA

4.5 stars

Benny's Video

Closely related to Haneke's first film The Seventh Continent (1989), Benny's Video is, once again, a trenchant study of urban alienation within the middle-class family and like the earlier film, some will find it disturbing.

With both his parents working, Benny (Arno Frisch) watches television and videos compulsively. After a casual meeting with a girl outside the video store he frequents, the two go back to his house, have a snack and begin videotaping one another during their conversation. Benny shows the girl a video that he has made of a pig being killed on his parents farm. He then shows her the gun used, which he has stolen, and, provoked by her, shoots her in the chest.

Although at first, as it lacks the claustrophobic hermeticism that made Haneke's first film so striking, Benny's Video seems less engaging but once it incorporates the parent's moral dilemma as they find out what their son has done we are ineluctably drawn into the maelstrom that Benny's thoughtless act has created. What might have been regarded as an effective but not startlingly original portrait of media desensitisation of the young is broadened into a powerful portrait of the failure of modern society.

DVD Extras: Interview with Haneke; deleted scenes presented by Haneke with a commentary.

Available from: Madman




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