The news on Wednesday that cities and states are suing some of the world's largest banks over Libor manipulation shows how this scandal could blow up into one of history's biggest bank frauds.
That's because interest-rate manipulation might well have kept your town or state from hiring firefighters or teachers, from paving roads or paying for indigent care or after-school programs for your kids -- adding to the human suffering of the economic collapse these same banks caused in the first place.
If it's any consolation, the lawsuits and fines over this manipulation could potentially cost the banks -- which include not only Barclays but Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and many more -- billions of dollars.
Earlier in the year, Michele Hanekebecame the 7th director in history to win more than one Palme d’Or at Cannes. The record for most Palme d’Or wins is now a seven-way tie.
The writer/director’s work is often enigmatic or experimental, but he’s also crafted stories that plumb the dramatic depths of loving relationships and extensively explored the beauty of music. From The Seventh Continentto Love, he’s made us question our role as viewers, challenged concepts of freedom and security, and did it all by making entertaining films. Some of which involve pig slaughter.
So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the man who turned Jean-Luc Godard’s most famous quote upside down.
Funny and Horrifying Can Be The Same Thing
“There are many scenes [in The Piano Teacher] that are both terrible and horrifying for the spectator and funny at the same time. There are really two types of laughter on the part of the spectator. There is the laughter of recognition – which means seeing things you’re familiar with and laughing at yourself. But there’s also hysterical laughter – a way of dealing with the things we see that upset us. This is also the case in our everyday lives: we turn to laughter as an escape valve.”
Mess With Your Audience Visually
“We’re used, from TV, to scenes giving immediate information, so that the viewer thinks ‘I’ve seen it. I understand it. Next,’ and you never really get to the point of having a particular sensitivity to the situation. . . If you want to move someone, then you have to play with their visual habits, with what they’re used to seeing.”
Breaking the fourth wall is nothing new, but the moment in Funny Gameswhen Paul (Arno Frisch) looks over his shoulder and winks right into the camera is terribly unsettling, not just because of what’s happening to one of the characters, but because of how brazenly Haneke is acknowledging the audience’s presence. It’s something we’re not used to.
That’s one example of many, and there are a lot of different ways to shake convention, but the key is not to deliver the same rhythms we’re used to. Don’t be afraid to shake the audience up.
Draw Scenes From Your Slaughter-Filled, Sheltered Childhood
You Need an Audience, But Not at the Cost of Your Principles
“If a director says he doesn’t care how many people see his films at all, I simply don’t believe him. Otherwise why would he bother to make the film? The only explanation would be that it would be an act of masturbation. I think that every creator is looking for a receptor. He’s looking for an audience. There are two parts of the equation: a creator and, necessarily, the receiver of the work. It’s the same thing for a painter who wants his paintings to be seen. However, if you betray your principles in the hopes of reaching a wider audience, then that’s as fatal as betraying your belief. Even the most elitist director or author who claims that he doesn’t care if his works are seen or not, then I have to think that he’s either a liar or a hypocrite. ”
Creation is the first step in a two-step process. Getting eyes and ears on your work is the fulfillment of why it was created – and it’s easy to see why a provocateur like Haneke believes this – but there’s a balance. It feels incredible to see a huge audience experience what you’ve made, but if you’ve gained a larger audience by sacrificing your ideals, you’re not really showing them your work after all. Definitely an interesting concept.
In the same interview, Haneke claims that books and movies are boring if they don’t leave the viewer or reader with questions to wrestle with. Unsurprisingly, a lot of his answers in interviews seem to achieve just that.
Every Film Rapes the Viewer
“I believe that the purpose of drama is not to let you go home feeling reassured. That was never its purpose, even as far back as the Greek tragedies. Every film is manipulative, raping the viewer. So the question is: Why do I rape the viewer? I try to rape him into being reflective, and into being intellectually independent and seeing his role in the game of manipulation. I believe in his intelligence. At its best, film should be like a ski jump. It should give the viewer the option of taking flight, while the act of jumping is left up to him.”
Michael Haneke will grab you by the ears, and you will know something.
By now, his attitude toward the audience is obvious, but it raises a great question about how safely you’re playing it as a storyteller. When this interviewer asks about Haneke’s pride in seeing people walk out of his movies, he talks briefly about the dichotomy of viewers. The oversimplified breakdown is between those who want to be slapped and have their perceptions challenged, and those that see movies strictly to have their views and ideas reinforced. Are you afraid of people leaving the theater, or do you relish the idea of thinning the herd to those who accept the challenge you might give them?
History.com has a great article about Edison and how his douchebaggery had a chokehold on American cinema.
X-rays: just to clarify, Tesla did not discover x-rays, but he was one of the early pioneers in its research.
Cryogenic engineering: I'm referring to the cryogenic engineering that has to do with using liquified air to cool a coil and reduce its electrical resistance (Patent No. 11,865), not freezing people and waking them up in the future so they can fight Wesley Snipes.
Transistor: Tesla's influence on the modern transistor can be found in patents 723,188 and 725,605. (a better explanation here)
Radio: Tesla was the nicest geek ever until he decided to sue Marconi a few years later. 8 months after Tesla died, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Marconi's patents on the invention of radio. So Tesla eventually won that battle, although he was dead by then.
Tesla VS Edison: I could write a novel on the differences between Tesla and Edison, but seeing as how this comic is already huge I decided to leave many things out. For instance, Edison killed cats and dogs, but Tesla loved animals and had a cat as a child. Originally Tesla wanted to be a poet, but after getting zapped by static electricity from his kitty he was inspired to study the effects of electricity. One could vaguely construe that Tesla's cat was responsible for the second industrial revolution, which arguably makes it the most awesome cat who ever lived. Edison believed that fossil fuels were the future and that there were enough resources in South America to provide for the next 50,000 years. Tesla believed that renewable energy sources like hydroelectric, solar, and wind power were the future. This is remarkable because in the 1890s there was no such thing as "going green," so Tesla's ideas on conservation were very forward-thinking at the time.
Lastly, a big thank you to Jane C. Daugherty for proofreading this article for me. If you want to learn things from the most awesome librarian this side of the North American tectonic plate, follow her on Twitter.