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BENNY'S VIDEO

Austria, 1992 (MIFF 1993, Youth Film Festival)

Director: Michael Haneke

Screened, to high acclaim, at the Cannes, Toronto, London and Berlin Film Festivals, Benny's Video elicited the same stunned silence from each audience drawn into its world of violence under brutal examination. With riveting formal control, director Michael Haneke has created a chill, unsparing exploration of the anaesthetising properties of too much violent imagery too soon.

Benny is a young adolescent from a wealthy middle-class family. His parents leave him largely to his own devices and he finds an emotional substitute in the world of video. It has such a hold on him that he keeps his bedroom shades drawn and watches the view from his window on a video monitor. Gradually, without people around him noticing, his values and his sense of reality begin to change. One weekend he meets a girl and takes her home. The apartment is empty. What begins as a shy love story ends in a grisly catastrophe that shatters the glacial veneer of the family.

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