Vienna, Christmas Eve, 1993. A nineteen year old student randomly shoots several people. Framed as a mystery, 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance unfolds in five asymmetrical chapters that eschew conventional narrative strategies and simple character-driven psychology to deconstruct what director Micheal Haneke sees as the 'progressive emotional glaciation' of his country.
Twelve lives collide, the inexplicable forces that draw these strangers together in a moment of collective horror are refracted in the cold cathode rays of a world pre-digested by the image-hungry media. Each fragment of their disparate individual stories is paralleled with TV news, reportage from Yugoslavia, Ireland, Somalia and other burning countries across the globe, as well as the trivialised obsessions of celebrity scandal. Suffused with intelligence, conceptual clarity and Hanake's hallmark formal concerns with existential cinema, 71 Fragmerits...relentlessly pushes the viewer to confront the habitually passive ways of perceiving reality.