Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Arno Frisch, Angela Winkler, Ulrich Mühe, Ingrid Stassner, Stephanie Brehme
Director: Michael Haneke
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Kino International Release Date: 05/16/2006 Run time: 105 minutes
Early Work of Haneke
Amy Lynn | Pennsylvania United States | 11/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Benny's Video is a unique early work by Michael Haneke. The star of the film is a young Arno Frisch...the same boy who coincidentally went on to play the lead role in his later work 'Funny Games.' Arno plays Benny, the 14 yr old apathetic child of 2 seemingly successful well off parents.
Benny has an obsession/fascination with videos and violence. He likes to visit the local video store. One day while browsing through some videos he spots a girl standing outside the store and ends up approaching her. He takes her home to show her his 'video' and then things get out of control.
Soon the parents end up accidentally discovering the extent of what happened on that video. They become conflicted. They weigh the options, discuss things and soon they come up with a plan... Seeing the parents deliberate over this decision about what to do with Benny and the victim was distressing. The question is.. What would you do if your son did what Benny did?...The realization and the twist at the end is scary. You find out what Benny is all about and what this kid is capable of even with his own flesh and blood and it's not what you think. This movie also shows the lengths parents may go to protect their child.. good or bad.
Also this movie seems to have had another meaning to it such as media having an impact on people's lives. Television, isolation and how violent images may effect someone. I think it was much more than that. The parents, desensitization, emotional emptyness, Benny himself and more. Also a point such as being aliented from the real world can possibly make one numb to it..
As far as violence or disturbing images I can't say I was overly shocked or suprised as to what happened in this movie because I already know Haneke's style. Also this was more about the 'story' than portraying blatant violence. Haneke can stir you with the images, the dialogue and the acting. I dont think any of his main characters have much of a conscience and when you add no conscience and realistic material you get something that has a deep impact on the mind and makes the audience think. It also leaves you with an empty feeling because with these films there are no happy endings and Haneke likes it that way. I recommend this film to people who like his other work.
For Hardcore Film Lovers Only
khense | los angeles, CA | 09/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A teenage boy made a video of a pig being slaughtered when his parents visited a farm. He also stole the gunlike instrument used in the process. With parents away for the weekend, the boy invites a lonely teenage girl he met at a video store to his apartment, where he kills her. We get little insight as to why - however his extremely cold & distant father and TV clips of the war in Bosnia link this boy's deficient emotional state to the human condition. Despite an unpalatable premise, the film moves masterfully through to a strong conclusion."
Haneke's best, most disturbing film...that few people have e
G. Mitchell | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you liked Haneke's recently acclaimed CACHE, I suggest you go back and watch his earlier masterpiece, BENNY'S VIDEO, that came out way back in 1992 and explores many of the same themes that CACHE tackled - and to even more ominous effect. Influenced by McNaughton's HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (I think, at least), BENNY'S VIDEO is not a commercial proposition by any means - would most people flock to the multiplex to witness a bleak, dark tale of a detached teen boy obsessed with a video of a pig slaughter driven to commit his own heinous act of murder? Tentpole release...NOT! At any rate, BENNY'S VIDEO features all of Haneke's ongoing obsessions with videotaping, voyeurism, the act of LOOKING (and being LOOKED AT) as its own narrative device, sudden shocking violence, and an overall icily detached style that makes the film even more ominous as it reaches its inevitable climax, if you can call it that. I never was able to catch this in the theater, but it's def worth a rent on DVD. Sidenote: also worth a look in the Haneke's body of work is FUNNY GAMES - that ain't so funny either!"
Meat and Murder
Liam Wilshire | Portland, OR | 09/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BENNY'S VIDEO may be the key to what attitude, exactly, Michael Haneke is trying to elicit about voyeurism, a theme that often crops up his work. I think it is fair to say that all of Haneke's films are more about the audience watching them than about the story being watched. Here, we see to what degree a life can be mediated by lenses, viewfinders and monitors.
BENNY'S VIDEO is the story of a teenage boy whose sense of reality is so buffered by visual media that the act of killing someone ("to see what it's like, probably") functions to fill a void caused by seeing life only through lighted frames.
Benny, as played by Arno Frisch (who, five years later, would play one of the preppy young psychopaths of FUNNY GAMES), can't even be said clearly to be a disturbed young man. That's what is so unsettling about the movie: after bringing a young girl to his room and videotaping her, the video image of his crotch clearly shows that he had probably brought her there for the usual things unsupervised teenagers do. Events could just as easily have gone in that direction. But, tellingly, the girl is also so numbed by television that the killing is just as much her idea as it is Benny's. They both crave something real. Benny produces a butcher's gun, a sort of prod that fires .22 caliber bullets at close range; he boasts about stealing it and says that all the farmer had to say about its theft was that his family was lucky they didn't come a week later or they would have gone home without any ham. The prod is passed; dares and taunts go back and forth . . . and then something very real does happen.
I once saw Bob Keeshan ("Captain Kangaroo") interviewed by Johnny Carson, when he recounted an experience from his childhood in the 1930's. A man had been murdered in upstate New York, and even though Keeshan was many miles from the incident, he said he lay awake at night for many weeks just trying to grasp how one person could take the life of another person.
That perspective of killing was shocking to me as I heard it, because it made me realize just how much I take murder in stride, as part of the endless stream of infotainment with which I am bombarded on a daily basis. Michael Haneke's work leaves me craving something better to take the place of that indifference. I have a sense that his films leave me a better person than they found me."