Once Upon a Time In . . . Austria
Measured, eerie and confident, both in style and concept, Markus Schleinzer's (Haneke's casting director) debut film Michael created a stir at its 2011 Cannes.
This is a portrait of an impassive man, remarkably (or un-remarkably) portrayed by Michael Fuith, who we observe quietly going about his suburban life; attending work, returning with his shopping to cook dinner in his neat and tidy home. We soon learn this man, Michael, has a boy held captive in his cellar.
What makes the film so compelling is the ordinariness of their strangely domestic set up, at times they could be mistaken for father and son. Michael cuts the boys hair, they prepare for Christmas and take trips to local parks. What plays out has a cool, slow burning tension, fractured intermittently with shocking moments and sometimes even humour, that serve to remind the viewer of the quiet chaos that lies not only in the cellar, but what often lurks beneath the ordinary.
BBFC Certified 18 - Contains child sexual abuse theme
★★★★★ "Brilliant and macabre" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian