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"Wheatley provides excellent close readings of a number of films and crucial film scenes. The book as a whole could be used in conjunction with a film course on Haneke, or its various chapters would lend themselves to discussions in graduate and even undergraduate courses on contemporary European film...The writing style is clear and while it pursues a critical theoretical analysis, it remains free from jargon. " · Monatshefte
"What distinguishes Catherine Wheatley's work from other scholarship on Haneke is her close examination of spectatorship and the consideration of the connection between film medium and self-awareness... In rich detail, Wheatley cleverly interweaves the narrative and formal aspects of Haneke's films with audience response and Haneke's ethical intention. Through analysing the forging of the amalgam of first- and second-generation modernist conventions, generic structure and the star system, this book develops a convincing paradigm for evaluating the spectatorship of Michael Haneke's films and broadens the scope of what is called (in the book's title) 'the ethic of the image'." · Senses of Cinema
"Both her exacting discussions of the films themselves and the even-handed, pointed summations of the critical debate around them are impressive feats...her succinct prose is eminently readable, even where couched in scholarly language." · Sight & Sound, The International Film Magazine
"This is a bold, lucid, fiercely intelligent book, a vital addition to the study of contemporary cinema by one of the UK's brightest young film critics." · Screen
"Wheatley has initiated an important conversation regarding Haneke and the ethics of spectatorship that will bring a good many others to the table." · New Review of Film and Television Studies
"Haneke stands as one of world cinema's most important auteurs, and as such his work demands the kind of lucid and rigorous interrogation provided here. This is an essential book - the real first step in an understanding and an elucidation of Haneke's oeuvre." · Ben McCann, University of Adelaide
Existing critical traditions fail to fully account for the impact of Austrian director, and 2009 Cannes Palm d'Or winner, Michael Haneke's films, situated as they are between intellectual projects and popular entertainments. In this first English-language introduction to, and critical analysis of, his work, each of Haneke's eight feature films are considered in detail. Particular attention is given to what the author terms Michael Haneke's 'ethical cinema' and the unique impact of these films upon their audiences.
Drawing on the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant and Stanley Cavell, Catherine Wheatley, introduces a new way of marrying film and moral philosophy, which explicitly examines the ethics of the film viewing experience. Haneke's films offer the viewer great freedom whilst simultaneously imposing a considerable burden of responsibility. How Haneke achieves this break with more conventional spectatorship models, and what its far-reaching implications are for film theory in general, constitute the principal subject of this book.
Catherine Wheatley holds degrees from the universities of Bath and Oxford, and is currently a researcher at the University of Southampton. She is a regular contributor to Sight & Sound magazine, as well as having published articles in several journals and books.