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Oscar hopeful Haneke directs Mozart in Madrid

21st February 2013, Comments0 comments


Although he is nursing hopes of an Oscar, Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke says he feels doomed to failure with his latest project -- a staging of a Mozart opera in Spain.

"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 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," Haneke, considered one of the greatest and most uncompromising living filmmakers, 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 theatre says its meditation on love and loyalty has its hard side too.

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 the theatre's Belgian director Gerard Mortier.

"It is the most profound and difficult Mozart, with some extraordinarily difficult arias," he said.

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."


© 2013 AFP

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