This two-part drama examines the fate of Haneke’s own generation which came of age after World War II. The first part depicts the generational gap between 1950s teenagers and their parents while the second shows this same group of characters twenty years later as they have grown up to be dysfunctional and suicidal adults. Regarded as the most significant of Haneke’s early works, Lemmings contains incipient treatments of many of the themes he would later elaborate on in his theatrical features. —http://www.umass.edu
Cheerfully wishing his audience a “disturbing evening” at a London retrospective of his films, director Michael Haneke insists that he is an optimist at heart, despite all of the relentlessly bleak carnage and deeply disturbing imagery so vividly painted and seared into the mind of anyone who has had the uncomfortable experience of viewing his work.
Practically born into show business, to an actress mother and director father, in Munich in March 1942, Haneke spent his early years in a working class suburb of Vienna before an early attempt at fame as an actor and pianist. Failing to achieve early success, Haneke attended the University of Vienna to study philosophy and psychology, and became a film critic and stage director before making his eventual debut as a television director with After Liverpool in 1973. Setting in motion a television career specializing in literary adaptations and small screen films, Haneke would work successfully in that medium until his feature debut… read more
A lot of precursor themes to his later features of course, but there's also a sort of stylistic looseness that is a little more akin to the European films of the past decade - some scenes I'm reminded of Bertolucci or even Fassbinder - but that is not to say he's trying to imitate or pay tribute to anybody. The brutalities, naturally, are done with his trademark observational prowess, without embellishment.