Elaine Scarry, Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and the Structure of Cruelty

Body and Society 25 (3):136-152 (2019)
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Abstract

Haneke’s film Funny Games is a reflection on the nature of pain and representation. I argue that the film closely follows Elaine Scarry’s arguments about the structure of torture. Further, by refusing to appeal to categories of generalization such as ‘sadism’ and ‘psychopathy’, Haneke undermines the process of finding meaning in violence. Haneke positions his audiences as more than just witnesses to torture, but active participants in cruelty.

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