The Austrian film director and screenwriter, Michael Haneke, has won Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias Arts Award.
Presenting the prize, the president of the jury Jose Llado, praised Haneke for making a significant contribution to the cultural heritage of makind.
“Haneke studies, with dazzling light and mastery, sombre aspects of life such as violence, oppression and disease that he treats with extraordinary formal sobriety,” said Llado.
Michael Haneke apparently likes to say that his films are easier to make than to watch and few, if any, would argue.
But although they often make for uncomfortable viewing, his bleak and disturbing style of depicting problems and failures in modern society appears to be gaining critical and commercial success.
Last year his film Amour premiered and competed at Cannes and went on to win the coveted Palme d’Or. It was his second triumph at the festival within three years, and saw him gain entry to an elite club of only seven directors.
The film also received five US Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. It won in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.