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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Funny Games in Valhalla?

Teaser poster for the remake of Funny Games.
Image © 2007 Celluloid Dreams/Halcyon Pictures
According to a report on the Handelsblatt website, (and brought to this writer's attention by Zerbinetta's Blog) Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke may be on his way to Bayreuth.

The director is currently the leading candidate to direct the Bayreuth Festival's 2013 production of Der Ring des Nibelungen. Mr. Haneke would replace Wim Wenders, who was originally scheduled to direct the bicentennial Ring, but dropped out in recent weeks.

Michael Haneke is known for bleak, disturbing films like The White Ribbon (2009) and Funny Games (1997) the brutal story of two psychopaths who invade a family's vacation cabin and proceed to torture them in a series of sadistic "games." It was remade by Mr. Haneke in a shot-for-shot 2007 "American" version starring Michael Penn, Naomi Watts and Tim Roth.

He is also experienced as an opera director, following a controversial 2006 version of Don Giovanni, mounted in Paris.

The challenges of mounting a Bayreuth Ring are considerable. Directors have to produce all four operas at once, premiering the entire cycle in the course of a week. Past Ring-meisters have included Patrice Chereau, Sir Peter Hall, Harry Kupfer, and of course, Wagner himself.

This production will celebrate Richard Wagner's 200th birthday. Other possible directors include Oscar-winning filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmark (The Lives of Others) and theater director Christof Loy.

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