The preferred reading from director Michael Haneke gives a lot of insight to why the audience felt the way they did. Haneke’s intended message of the film was irony. “All the rules that usually make the viewer go home happy and contented are broken in my film,” (Haneke). This is why the film makes audiences so uncomfortable; it takes them out of their standard beliefs of what a film should have in it. Haneke breaks these rules several times to give the audience increased feelings of anxiousness. “There’s this unspoken rule that you can’t harm animals. What do I do? I kill the dog first thing. The same thing with the boy. You’re not supposed to break the illusion. What do I do? I break the illusion. It’s the principle of the whole film. It’s a very ironic film,” (Haneke)
Haneke also displays the irony through the music, “Just like the film is a parody of a classical thriller, John Zorn is a parody of classical heavy metal. The classical music is not a soundtrack in this movie. All my music is not meant as a soundtrack—is part of the action, part of the story. The other music, the John Zorn music, is under the titles, and it’s the ironic colon. OK, now we go to a thriller,” (Haneke)
Haneke’s second message is manipulation, “I wanted to show the audience how much they can be manipulated,” (Haneke). He purposefully toys with the audience, bringing them to unfamiliar territory. “First they think it’s all an illusion, just a film, then I do this rewinding and suddenly you go back. I look at the viewer directly, I talk to him, I wink at him. I do this again and again to show how much one can manipulate. In view of this overriding illusion in movies, it’s a good idea to create a little bit of mistrust in the verité, in the truth of moving pictures.”
As for Peter and Paul being gay that interpretation was not intended. “We heard it before, but I’m very surprised actually. First of all, the actors aren’t gay, but that would be beside the point. I don’t...