In all of my work I'm trying to create a dialogue, in which I want to provoke the recipients, stimulate them to use their own imaginations. I don't just say things recipients want to hear, flatter their egos or comfort them by agreeing with them. I have to provoke them, to take them as seriously as I take myself.
When I first envisioned 'Funny Games' in the mid-1990s, it was my intention to have an American audience watch the movie. It is a reaction to a certain American cinema, its violence, its naivety, the way American cinema toys with human beings. In many American films, violence is made consumable.
When my first film 'The Seventh Continent' was presented here 12 years ago, non-Austrian spectators would come up to me and say, 'Is Austria that terrible?', whereas for me it wasn't about Austria but about highly industrialised cultures everywhere.
Classicism becomes avant-garde when everyone else is doing their utmost to develop new stylistic forms. I think it's healthy to return to classical forms.
You can use your means in a good and bad way. In German-speaking art, we had such a bad experience with the Third Reich, when stories and images were used to tell lies. After the war, literature was careful not to do the same, which is why writers began to reflect on the stories they told and to make readers part of their texts. I do the same.
I love actors, both my parents were actors, and the work with actors is the most enjoyable part of making a film. It's important that they feel protected and are confident they won't be betrayed. When you create that atmosphere of trust, it's in the bag - the actors will do everything to satisfy you.
People expect me to be dark and gloomy, then write that I'm a jolly chap, and after all, that is what I am. I think it's a case of an absolute romantic naivety that there should be a parallel between the work and the artist.
My mother as a young girl went out with a young SS officer and she didn't really know what was going on - she just liked the uniform. When he told her about the things that he did, she was disgusted and broke up with him.
I try to get closer to reality, to get close to the contradictions. The cinema world can be a real world rather than a dream world.
A feature film is twenty-four lies per second.
My father and I had a good relationship, it was very relaxed. He had a lot of humour. He looked a little bit like me, although he had no beard. He had the appearance of a very elegant British-looking man.
There are really two types of laughter on the part of the spectator. There is the laughter of recognition - which means seeing things you're familiar with and laughing at yourself. But there's also hysterical laughter - a way of dealing with the things we see that upset us.
To me, it's far more efficient to mobilize the imagination. It's far more efficient to hear a creaking step, for example, than to see the face of a monster, which usually looks ridiculous, and where you know that the blood is ketchup.
It's impossible to consider living without ideals. However, when ideas lead to ideology, that's a very dangerous thing. Ideology then leads to creating the image of an enemy, and it leads to the murder and massacre that we've seen since the beginning of time.
I'm lucky enough to be able to make films and so I don't need a psychiatrist. I can sort out my fears and all those things with my work. That's an enormous privilege. That's the privilege of all artists, to be able to sort out their unhappiness and their neuroses in order to create something.
It's a fact that people who are in a weakened position, whether physically or mentally, have this perception of the outer world as threatening. Everything that is unexpected or unknown is seen as a potential danger.
As a European filmmaker, you can not make a genre film seriously. You can only make a parody.
And I don't believe that children are innocent. In fact, no one seriously believes that. Just go to a playground and watch the kids playing in the sandbox! The romantic notion of the sweet child is simply the parents projecting their own wishes.
'Funny Games' was conceived as a provocation. My other films are different. If people feel my other films are, or respond to them as provocation, then that's quite different. 'Funny Games' is the only one of mine where my intention was to provoke the audience.
Mainstream cinema raises questions only to immediately provide an answer to them, so they can send the spectator home reassured. If we actually had those answers, then society would appear very different from what it is.