Happy End
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Happy End

‘Happy End’ is far from being Michael Haneke’s best film; It could be said, of course, that it is the most Hanekian, Happy End like a collection of great successes by the director who has done the most in recent decades to turn European auteur cinema into a showcase for the worst of the human condition. Now, for the first time, all his obsessions are available in a single film: the technological voyeurism of ‘Benny’s Video’ (1992), the colonial trauma of ‘Caché’ (2005), the perverse adolescence of ‘The White Ribbon’ (2009), the euthanasic drive of ‘Amor’ (2012), the comment on racism in Europe in ‘Unknown Code’ (2000) and the contempt for the bourgeoisie that permeates his entire career. More than a film, then, it is a collection of themes that, unfortunately, the Austrian has already explored more successfully in the past.

At least the technology, it is true, has been updated for this new world of amplified indecency and indifference: Facebook messages are crucial to the plot, and when in a scene a character records disturbing domestic scenes, they do so with a telephone and not with a camcorder. Said ‘amateur’ filmmaker turns out to be Eve, a 12-year-old girl, who at the beginning of the film poisons his mother with antidepressants and records the effects that the drug causes with an iPhone. As a result of the incident, Eve goes to live with her father in the mansion that his wealthy family owns in Calais, and it does not take long to understand that the young woman is only the last apple to fall from a very rotten tree.