Examine how Haneke explores the sense of guilt both at the national and personal levels in the film. What link(s) does he establish between collective and individual guilt?
Make a list of the features that encourage the audience to view the film as a political allegory.
What is the significance of the bicycle scene in the film? How are Georges, Anne and the person who rides the bicycle positioned in the scene?
Make a comparison between Georges’s house and Majid’s house. In what way(s) could these places contribute to our understanding of the film?
Examine the concept of “The Other” in the film.
What is the significance of the talk between Georges and his mother? What does this talk tell us about guilt and responsibility?
Why do you think Haneke uses almost no music in the film?
What do you think about the ending of the film? What could such an ending imply about Haneke’s attitude towards the cinema audience?
In what way(s) do you think Haneke makes a critique of the mass media?
After Georges and Anne realize that their son has not come home, they have a discussion for some time. In this scene Haneke shows a television set in the background. What is being shown on television? Do Georges and Anne hear or see what is presented on it? What is the significance of the television in this context?
How is Pierrot’s school represented in the film?
What clues do you get about youth cultures when you examine Pierrot’s room?
Why do you think Haneke leaves the question “who has sent the video tapes?” unanswered in the film?
Examine the title of the film by relating it to different characters in the film and discuss what such an examination could tell you in general.
How would you interpret Georges’ drawing the curtains in his bedroom and sleeping naked in the darkness of the room at the end of the film?
Comment on the following quotes by Haneke in an interview:
“What did we suppress in order to arrive where we are?”
“Behavior is always a moral question”
© Ali Nihat Eken, Istanbul, May 2008
Photo credit: The Guardian.
Relevant link: Media Literacy through Haneke’s Funny Games