One of the most significant trends in our current Golden Age of television is the rate at which top-shelf talent is making the jump to TV, both on and off the screen. Auteurs like Steven Soderbergh, Paolo Sorrentino, David Fincher, Rian Johnson, and Palme D’Or winner Jane Campion have all turned their attentions to the small screen, with Soderbergh and Sorrentino going as far as directing entire seasons on their own.
Now Campion is not the only Palme D’Or luminary to work in TV. She’s joined by Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon, Amour, Funny Games), who’s teaming up with Deutschland 83 production company UFA Fiction on a series of his own.
Entitled Kelvin’s Book, the dystopian, near-future series follows a group of youths “forced to make an emergency landing outside of their home and are confronted with the actual face of their home country for the first time,” according to a press statement. Executive producer Nico Hofmann describes the project as “an extraordinarily rich, gripping and ambitious story [...] with contemporary themes and a reflection of the digital age that we live in.”
Haneke will likely write and direct the series himself, claiming that “after 10 TV movies and 12 films, I wanted to tell a longer story for once.” That’s an interesting motivation for the director, and a tantalising proposition for audiences. Haneke’s work to date has not only confronted audiences with intimate and uncomfortable character studies, but with questions as to how they watch, consume, and engage with entertainment. Haneke applying his unique insight and viewpoints to long-form, serialised storytelling could be an outright revolution for the medium, and based on Hofmann's description, it sounds like that might be just what he's doing.
No broadcasters have yet been announced for Kelvin’s Book, but given the director’s insane pedigree - including an Academy Award, a BAFTA, three Cesars, seven European Film Awards, a Cannes Best Director award, and a record-tying two Palmes D’Or - networks would be fools to pass it up.