Director: Michael Haneke
Year Released: 2003
Or, The End of the World According to Haneke. After a cataclysmic event that has turned the world on its head, a family tries to make it on their own somewhere in France - it isn't clear what happened or where they're headed or how they survived, but the story is intentionally - and irritatingly - vague. I think of all filmmakers working, Haneke has one of the bleakest of worldviews, and this story allows him the opportunity to show mankind arguing, fist-fighting, raping women while threatening to slit their throats, pilfering from the less fortunate, letting people suffer if they can't pay for help and so on, so that when it comes down to the one child losing his mind and trying to set fire to himself, it's gone well over the line. Littman's Testament showed the world banding together as they die slowly; Haneke wants to watch them bicker, argue and exploit. It makes sense, then, that my 'favorite' end-of-times film, Threads, is more documentary than fiction, not abusing the most inherently problematic of storylines for emotion, and choosing, instead, to be rather straightforward about it all.