Haneke wins Prince of Asturias Award

Austrian Oscar-winning director of ‘Amour’ to receive 2013 arts prize

Michael Haneke: “Dazzling skill.”
Michael Haneke: “Dazzling skill.” AFP

Austrian film director and screenwriter Michael Haneke is to receive the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts.

It is the latest honor to be bestowed on the moviemaker, whose most recent work, Amour, scooped this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. One of Europe’s most respected intellectuals, he is also an occasional opera director: in February he premiered his production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

The 17-person jury praised his mastery of the craft and his ability to go where other filmmakers do not dare. “Haneke illuminates and dissects with dazzling skill the dark aspects of existence, such as violence, oppression and illness, which he confronts with extraordinary formal sobriety at the same time as he opens spaces to the consoling persistence of love, trust and commitment,” it said Thursday.

Son of a German director and Austrian actress, Haneke was born in 1942 in Munich and grew up with his mother and his stepfather in Vienna where he studied philosophy, drama and psychology before becoming a film critic and beginning a career in television. He made his first feature, The Seventh Continent, in 1989 and found popularity with Funny Games in 1997, following that with The Piano Teacher (2001), Time of the Wolf (2003), Caché (2005), The White Ribbon (2009) and Amour (2012) — the latter two both winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

Up against Haneke for the 2013 arts award — the first of this year’s eight prizes to be revealed — were Cuban dancer and choreographer Carlos Acosta, US artist Bruce Nauman, Estonian classical composer Arvo Pärt and Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic.

He will receive the prize, which consists of a sculpture designed by Joan Miró, 50,000 euros, a diploma and a medal, at a ceremony in Oviedo in October.

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