Edited By Deborah Ascher Barnstone
Isa Murdock-Hinrichs - 6 The Remake as Double: Space, Media, and the Irrational in Michael Haneke’s Funny Games
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6 The Remake as Double: Space, Media, and the Irrational in Michael Haneke’s Funny Games
Michael Haneke’s 2007 remake of his 1998 film Funny Games does more than double the original, it uses multiple types of doubling to explore the curious quality of film so aptly remarked by Walter Benjamin as a present absence. While the cinematic object, the images on the screen, suggests a presence of actors and actresses, of a here and now, it is also a direct reference to an absence. The fact that these particular actors and actresses are no longer performing the action on the screen in the here and now but that the action has been displaced into a there and then underscores the simultaneous condition of absence and presence in film.1 The figure of the double, and the cinematic remaking as a form of doubling, similarly foreground a spatio-temporal displacement as they focus on the play between signifier and signified. A remake’s evocative potential is tied to the “original” in the way that a signifier functions in relation to a signified. While a remake always invokes the original, especially in films like Gus Van Sant’s 1998 shot-by-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho, the process of remaking as a form of mimesis constantly emphasizes an absence, a lack.
Similarly, Sigmund Freud’s analysis of the figure of the double in his essay “The Uncanny” points to a perceived lack as characteristic of...
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