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Toby Jones

Michael Haneke's 'Happy End' is a disquieting, blisteringly funny evisceration of the bourgeoisie

Michael Haneke's 'Happy End' is a disquieting, blisteringly funny evisceration of the bourgeoisie

Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, except perhaps in the films of the Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke, where domestic misery tends to express itself as a series of repetitive, even ritualistic patterns.

He has, in effect, turned this repetition into a kind of joke; in most of his films you are likely to encounter the names Georges and Anne (or Georg and Anna), and maybe the face of his frequent on-screen muse, the brilliant French actress Isabelle Huppert.

The forces bedeviling these families vary in nature — an apocalyptic disaster in “Time of the Wolf,” inexplicable suicidal urges in “The Seventh Continent,” memories of past transgressions in...

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