Who Was Edgar Allan? is a television adaptation of Peter Rosei’s post-modern thriller of the same name in which a student travels to Venice to study against the wishes of his father and meets a mysterious figure who calls himself Edgar Allan. Mysterious deaths, all-seeing eyes, strange misunderstandings, and odd father figures are elements which structure Michael Haneke’s television-thriller. The director’s later concerns with media, invisibility, surveillance, and the bourgeois family are already present here.
In its sixty-five minutes, Paz Encina’s first film, carries Ramón and Cándida, an aging couple living in the deep country, from sunrise, when they hang their old hammock between two trees in a clearing, to sunset, when they take it in. Settled in its tenuous grasp, they talk about the heat, the rain, the dog that won’t stop barking, the war, and their son, Máximo, who is doing his military service and hasn’t been heard from lately. The father lives in hope, the mother in fear, and scenes of their daily rounds of labor and rest—images of a contemplative pictorial exaltation—are joined by voice-over flashbacks revealing the story of their son’s departure and the rumors that followed.
A man sentenced to death reflects on his arrest, interrogations, torture… and a bit on the time before, long gone, swallowed up by pain and numbness.
A lonely old man lives in a desolate block of appartments in Vienna which is to be pulled down to make way for something more profitable. He fights for his humble home, fortifies it to defend himself against invincible forces of profit. A staid cinematography follows the character’s resistance and downfall.
Along a railroad in the south of the former Zaire UN troups discover a few thousand refugees from Rwanda. The camps for the survivors are being massacred a little later on April 25th 1997 by the so-called liberating rebel army of the new “Democratic Republic” of Kongo – and nobody has seen this in the evening news.
Irene, the new receptionist at a hotel in the Austrian Alps, discovers that the girl she is replacing has mysteriously disappeared. Curiosity leads her to ask questions that are met with indifference and hostility from the other employees. At this point she realizes that she is in great danger.
Orlac is a world famous pianist. One day he is badly hurt in a big train wreck. He is in danger of losing both his hands so his wife begs the doctors to save them. They eventually manage to transplant his hands with those of another deceased person. After his recovery Orlac discovers that there is something seriously wrong with his new pair of hands — it is as if they had a will of their own. But Orlac doesn’t know that they actually belonged to a dangerous murderer.
After a series of events, Georg Hauser, an established middle-class man, is at odds with the world, in which he himself used to work so well. He wants out. He wants to live. In a moment of his very own clarity, he destroys his car, but whoever destroys his property is an enemy of the state.