Follow Friday: Michael Haneke

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 18 2013 3:28 PM

Follow Friday: Michael Haneke

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Michael Haneke, poses in the press room during the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Parody Twitter accounts often arrive with a flourish following a remarkable or bizarre live-television incident, amassing the vast majority of their followers within the days or even minutes immediately following that event. Such accounts typically die slow, painful deaths, as the general populace moves on to the next amusing, zeitgeist-y thing. See, e.g.: @AngiesRightLeg, @goodjobkid, @SarcasticRover, @InvisibleObama, @SilentJimLehrer, @RomneysBinder, etc.

Others target real or fictional popular figures, and rise to popularity a bit more organically, but eventually devolve into stale jokes about current events in the vein of “Weekend Update” or a bad celebrity roast. See @Lord_Voldemort7, @Jesus_M_Christ, @darthvader, @God_Damn_Batman, @PimpBillClinton, etc.

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But some of the best parody Twitter accounts target relatively minor public figures and highlight a small but surprisingly amusing peculiarity or idiosyncrasy. Thus: @NotTildaSwinton, @GingrichIdeas, @ProfJeffJarvis, and more.

@Michael_Haneke the unexpected spoof of the acclaimed 70-year-old Austrian filmmaker best known for such bleak, Palme d’Or-winning films as Amour and The White Ribbon, does something different. The account first appeared in early November, and quickly amassed nearly 18,000 followers, attracting the attention of Ellen Page, Russell Crowe, and other celebrities. Rather than heightening its target’s perceived idiosyncrasies, the fake Haneke goes in the opposite direction, taking up the persona of a hyper, bumbling, and linguistically challenged pre-teen entirely at odds with the somber man who once said his goal with movies is to “rape [the viewer] into being reflective.” Twitter Haneke has this to say about one of his most esteemed cinematic contemporaries:              

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Twitter Haneke is not humble.

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As you can see, he’s a bit of a jerk—and he particularly enjoys ribbing Hollywood big shots.      

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When the account references another actor, it often employs the widely-adopted procedure of mentioning one of their films in parentheses, but the fake Haneke usually selects a more amusing obscure choice, such as “juliet binosh (dan in real life)” or “naomi wotts (ring 2).”

The account does sometimes play to, rather than against, Haneke’s reputation as a dark and grim director—but, of course, still in the same pre-teen voice:

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And whoever is running the account appears to have a good working knowledge of the Haneke oeuvre:      

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At the Golden Globes last Sunday, The Los Angeles Times asked Haneke about the account, and he replied, speaking through a translator, “My students said there was a weird Twitter account, but I’m not that interested in that kind of thing. It's not for me.”

While the real Haneke may not be on Twitter anytime soon, the fake one is a must-follow between now and Oscars night, when, as the fake Haneke will be quick to tell you, his name will be called multiple times:

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