It’s been a while now since German-bred filmmaker/provocateur Michael Haneke debuted a new film- the last time, in fact, was the critical and Oscar-winning triumph Amour. His next films appears set- a drama entitled Happy End and will (at least somewhat) center around a particularly timely subject- the migrant crisis in Europe. The cast will include Amour vets Jean-Louis Trintignant and Isabelle Huppert (a frequent Haneke collaborator who has also appeared in The Piano Teacher and The Time of the Wolf for the director).
Reports coming of French media outlets and further discussed over at Indiewire indicate Haneke is preparing to shoot Happy End sometime in spring in Calais, a port city in France. Calais is one of the real-life epicenters of the European migrant movement, where thousands have set up camp in hopes of entering the United Kingdom. While it’s unclear how Happy End will tells this story- details on that front are kept under seal- Haneke isn’t the first filmmaker to tackle this topical subject for the screen; other entries include Jonas Carpignano’s acclaimed debut feature Mediterranea (which recently earned a Gotham Award and an Independent Spirit Award nomination) and master Aki Kaurismaki (The Man Without a Past) is currently prepping Refugee for next fall.
Haneke originally intended to follow-up Amour with a Flashmob, an altogether different sounding project for the filmmaker that centered around an online community brought together by its titular event. That project is either on hold or dropped altogether but a Haneke film is certain to always arouse curiosity within the film community based on his eclectic filmography that includes both foreign and English-language Funny Games, the Juliette Binoche headlined Code Unknown (2000) and Caché (2005), The Piano Teacher (2002), the Oscar-nominated The White Ribbon (2009) and, of course, Amour (2012).
Amour won both the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. The film also received four other Oscar nominations including a nod for Best Picture and for Haneke’s direction (infamously beating out such competition as Ben Affleck for Argo and Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty, to boot), putting the director in the illustrious company of Federico Fellini, Pedro Almodóvar and Ingmar Bergman as filmmakers nominated in the Best Director category for foreign language films.
We will stay tuned to new concerning Happy End as it develops.