Sound And Vision: Jessica Hausner

Contributing Writer; The Netherlands
Sound And Vision: Jessica Hausner

In the article series Sound and Vision we take a look at music videos from notable directors.
This week we look at Attwenger's erso&sieso, directed by Jessica Hausner.

When you think of Jessica Hausner's oeuvre, the word comedy is not something you might think of, immediately. Even though she has been leaning in an increasingly darkly and dryly humorous direction with Little Joe, and according to descriptions her new film Club Zero (which premiered at Cannes), her films are 'peculiar funny' not 'ha ha-funny'. Her wit is of a scorchingly dry kind, that it is sometimes hard to even recognize them as comedies at all.

Amour Fou has some very darkly funny sequences, if you can call a solemn meditation on death and suicidal ideation funny. And Lourdes, a film about the exploitation of sick and disabled people by Christianity, is so twistedly ironic at times, it almost makes you feel guilty to even describe it as a comedy.

There is also Hausner's detached camera style, that is formalistic and observant, to an extent that it can be described as cold, alien and distancing. Her cinema, like that of Haneke and Östlund, has its defenders and detractors, and uses scathingly dark humor to convey a message to almost didactic ends. I'm not the biggest fan of any of the mentioned names, but I can see the merit to their style.

The detached camera work is still there in the sole music video Jessica Hausner directed: the camera's get even literally detached at the end, as we see they are hidden cameras in an elevator. Still ever the observer, the biggest change-up in this music video, for Attwenger's erso&sieso, is that the humor is of a very different kind for Hausner, this time around. There's no irony, or dark satire. Instead we see two actors having a private dance party in the elevator, mugging wildly for the voyeuristic spectators (us as the audience).

This is Hausner trying to do "ha ha-funny" for a change. It is a fun, but slight music video, which makes you wonder how a more overt slapstick movie by Hausner might play. There is a method to her usual comedic stylings that is kinda missing here. But there is a playful sense of fun that fills the lack of her sharp, acerbic wit. It makes you want to dance in the elevator yourself.

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Jessica Hausner

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