Sunday, March 05, 2006

Caché (Hidden)

This one is probably going to get a lot of "eh" reactions from American audiences, not because we're all uncouth and uncultured and don't get "film", but because this is a decidely French movie. I got the feeling that Haneke meant it as a sort of indictment of French racial attitudes towards immigrants in general and Algerians in particular, but not knowing an awful lot about the topic I could be very wrong. Auteuil plays a TV personality (hosting a literary discussion program that is apparently pretty popular) harassed by a mysterious stranger who leaves video tapes showing various surveillance shots of his home and family. The movie is actually quite frustrating in this regard as the hidden camera begins to require a huge suspension of disbelief as the movie progresses. Several of the videos show Auteuil walking directly towards and in front of the camera and it becomes harder and harder to believe he isn't seeing it, especially once he knows there is one there. I'm sure an artsy film snob justification can be made (there's not really a "camera," the videos are a metaphorical symbol of the world's eyes watching as we live our lives and reminding us that we must keep our secret shames hidden, something stupid like that), but by not revealing the camera or it's operator and leaving the ending open as to who really sent the tapes were frustrating. I still enjoyed it, though, and can give Haneke credit for making a quietly suspenseful picture that drew on a lot of simple, everyday fears to create a menacing sense of dread instead of going for a cheap scare.


Anonymous nico said...

Just watch The Battle of Algiers for the best French/Algerian relations movie.

12:07 PM  
Blogger scot said...

have you seen anything else by haneke such as funny games or the piano teacher? i think he just thrives on making audiences uncomfortable, i am really looking forward to seeing cache.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Todd Jones said...

scot - i haven't. would you recommend adding them to the netflix queue?

7:45 AM  
Blogger scot said...

yeah, definately. both are very, very disturbing in different ways though. i think get either a love or hate sorta vibe. i loved funny games and hated the piano teacher. and i hated the fact that i loved funny games, if that makes any sense at all. he just seems, to me, to be a very manipulative director/storyteller. but, if you are good at it, play to your strengths i guess.

8:34 AM  

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