“My students, meanwhile, pitch only the gravest of topics. For them it’s always got to be the Holocaust. I usually tell them, Back off. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You can only reproduce what you read or heard elsewhere. Others who actually lived through it have said it much better than you ever could. Try to create something that springs organically from your own experience. For only then does it stand the slightest chance of being genuinely interesting.” —Michael Haneke, the Art of Screenwriting No. 5
I felt enormously clever writing that pun up there. Then I remembered that it’s already been used—it’s the title of Anthony Lane’s excellent 2009 profile of Haneke in The New Yorker. Tant pis!
Even so, my point stands: tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah, and our new issue features the Art of Screenwriting No. 5, an interview with Michael Haneke, whose name is pronounced in very nearly the same fashion. Coincidence? Yes, absolutely, nothing more.
You may consider, during these eight nights of gift-giving, capitalizing on the Haneke/Hanukkah near-homonym and presenting your loved one with a subscription to The Paris Review, starting with our Haneke issue—just forty dollars for a year’s supply of fiction, poetry, interviews, and art, including a postcard announcing your gift with a personal message. They make a great present for aspiring writers, who should, in the words of William Kennedy, “read the entire canon of literature that precedes them, back to the Greeks, up to the current issue of The Paris Review.”