71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance | Chicago Reader

71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance

Austrian provocateur Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher) based this 1994 drama on the true story of a teenager who randomly blew away three people in a Viennese bank, then killed himself. Americans desensitized to senseless violence may find the subject matter almost banal, and the interspersed news footage of armed conflict from around the world feels like a rhetorical device. But the coldly telegraphic structure—a series of 71 blackouts following the four strangers to their deaths—yields some striking moments. In one sequence, a husband eating dinner with his wife blurts out that he loves her, then just as unexpectedly slaps her; in another, the homicidal youth practicing table tennis with a serving machine begins to seem like a slave to his own reflexes. In German with subtitles. 95 min.

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