Film-maker Haneke fears flat Mozart premiere

Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke has his hopes pinned on winning at least one Oscar in this weekend's ceremony but says he feels doomed to failure with his latest project: a staging of a Mozart opera in Spain.

Film-maker Haneke fears flat Mozart premiere
Film director Michael Hanek's production of the Mozart opera Cosi Fan Tutti premieres in Madrid on Saturday. Photos: Felipe Gabaldon (left) Paul A. Herbert/Getty Images North America/AFP (right)

"Amour", Haneke's film about an ageing couple that won the Palme d'Or at Cannes last year, is up for five Oscars on Sunday, including those for best film and best director.

First, however, the 69-year-old faces another big night: Saturday's premier of Cosi Fan Tutte, by his fellow Austrian at Madrid's Teatro Real.

"With Mozart you are condemned to fail. The question is on what level," respected director Haneke told reporters in Madrid on Wednesday.

"I don't much like talking about opera. I prefer to talk about my films. I see myself more as a film director."

The Madrid show is his second opera project after "Don Giovanni" in Paris in 2007, and "probably my last" before returning to filmmaking, he added.

"After 'Don Giovanni' I received about 15 offers to direct operas but I rejected them all because I didn't think I was the right person to do them," he said.

Haneke's films such as "The White Ribbon", a macabre tale of pre-war Germany for which he won the first of his two Palmes D'Or, have earned him a reputation for painful subjects.

Cosi Fan Tutte is ostensibly a romantic comedy — the tale of two women who are tricked and tested by their suitors — but the meditation on love and loyalty has its hard side too, said the Teatro Real's Belgian director Gerard Mortier.

Written by a depressed Mozart when he was having love pains of his own, Cosi Fan Tutte is one of the composer's most challenging operas to stage, said Mortier.

Haneke has stage-directed the opera in Madrid under the musical baton of French conductor Sylvain Cambreling.

"Amour" meanwhile examines the intimate life of an elderly man and his dying wife.

"It touches people because it could happen to any family," Haneke said. "If you are young it could happen to your grandparents. If you're less young, to your parents. And if you're even less young, it could happen to you."

The film is nominated for Oscars in the best film, director, actress, script and foreign film categories.

"I would like to win them all. I would hope to win at least one — any of them," he said. "I am crossing my fingers."

See the trailer for Haneke's infamous thriller Funny Games below:

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Spain picks Almódovar’s ‘Pain and Glory’ for Oscars

Spain's film academy said Thursday it had picked veteran director Pedro Almódovar's latest drama "Pain and Glory" to represent the country at the Oscars.

Spain picks Almódovar's 'Pain and Glory' for Oscars
Photos: AFP

The film, a semi-autobiographical story featuring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas about an ageing Spanish director plagued by physical and psychological frailty who revisits childhood memories, will compete with other global entries for a nomination as Best International Feature Film.   


The five nominations for the category that up until now has been known as the best foreign-language film will be announced on January 13. The 92nd Academy Awards will be held on February 9, 2020.

Almódovar, who won the Golden Lion lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival last month, has already picked up two Oscars — for best foreign firm with “All About My Mother” in 2000 and for best original screenplay with “Talk To Her” in 2003.   

The 69-year-old has directed 21 feature films, including “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”, “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” and “High Heels”.