Bright Lights Film Journal

Poster Comparison No. 1

When I first saw this one-sheet for Captivity (top) at a bus stop, I thought I recognized the girl in the poster as Naomi Watts. It turned out to be Elisha Cuthbert.
Now, just a few months later, we see the poster for the upcoming Funny Games remake (bottom); and not only is the design directly inspired/ripped off from the Captivity poster, but the girl in it really is Naomi Watts!
The original Funny Games (1997), an Austrian film written and directed by Michael Haneke, is about a middle class family manipulated and tortured by a pair of young sociopaths for their personal amusement. The remake, also written and directed by Haneke, and officially titled Funny Games U.S., is apparently very close to the original, but with English-speaking actors (Watts, Michael Pitt, Tim Roth) and an American setting.
I am not a huge fan of Michael Haneke. His biggest hit Caché – purportedly being remade by Ron Howard – combines sadism with political pretension (the sadism expressed toward a French bourgeois family supposedly justified by French oppression/exploitation of the Third World) and a disregard of narrative logic – the film’s ending makes no sense. I’ll concede that any one of these things – sadism, political pretension, or an absence of narrative logic – might be acceptable to me in a different aesthetic context, but in Haneke’s hands, combined with his general lack of affect, the result repels me.
If there is a single theme that unites Haneke’s oeuvre (Funny Games, Caché, Time of the Wolf), it is an apparent pleasure in watching the sufferings of the European middle class. As if there were no greater problem in the world today than bourgeois complacency. And now he wants to do the same thing to Americans. As far as I’m concerned, the American middle class has already suffered more than enough under the pro-corporate policies of the Reagan and Bush Administrations. Whose side are you on, Michael?
Thanks to philosopherrouge for alerting me to the Funny Games poster.