I don’t entirely trust Michael Haneke somehow and I’m not entirely sure why. I just find myself wary of him for some reason. Anyway, this is the third feature I’ve seen by him and it didn’t exactly warm me any further to him… based on a true event, in which a 19 year old went on a random shooting spree before killing himself at Xmas 1993 in Vienna; the actual news footage of the actual event is unable to explain the event and Haneke has evidently little interest in doing so either, cos that’s the sort of work he expects us to do. What does he give us to work with, then? Well, 71 fragments, like the title suggests, bits of news footage and short scenes from the weeks leading up to the event from the life of various characters, including the gunman and the people he kills; there’s no connection between any of them, and Haneke provides bugger all connection between us and them either. What does Haneke want us to do with this? Does the guy shoot the people in the bank because he’s pissed off at someone being understandably rude to him in the bank queue? Because his table tennis game has been off lately? Did he fuck up an exam? What about the other people, was it just bad luck on their part? Or are they victims not of the “chance” of the title but of the “emotional glaciation” Haneke talks about? In some way are they even to blame for what happened to them? Or is it the world at large, is it the way Yugoslavia was going to hell in a handbag at the time, is it Michael Jackson (god/dess, THERE’s a “celebrity cameo” for you)? All of the above? None of the above? Do I particularly give a shit? Does Haneke?
71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (1994)