Caché (film)  

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Caché (marketed as Hidden in the United Kingdom) is a 2005 French-language film, written and directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke. It stars Daniel Auteuil as Georges and Juliette Binoche as his wife Anne. It is the first film in which Haneke used high-definition video cameras. It has no film score.

Contents

Plot

Georges (Daniel Auteuil) is a successful host of a TV book programme who lives with his wife Anne (Juliette Binoche), a book publisher, and their son Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky). The family's good, bourgeois life is threatened when mysterious videotapes depicting surveillance of their home start showing up on their doorstep. At first, the tapes seem relatively harmless, but later videos are accompanied by crude, disturbing crayon drawings. Little by little, the maker of the tapes reveals discomforting knowledge of Georges' hidden past.

Because the tapes do not contain an open threat, the police refuse to help Georges and Anne. One videotape leads Georges to the modest HLM apartment of an Algerian man named Majid (Maurice Bénichou), whose parents worked for Georges' family when they were young. When his parents were killed in the Paris massacre of 1961, Majid temporarily lived with Georges and his parents, who intended to adopt Majid into their family. Georges confronts Majid and his teenage son (Walid Afkir) about the tapes, but both deny involvement. Throughout the film, Georges has guilty flashbacks and nightmares of controversial veracity depicting his young self getting jealous of Majid and tricking him, leading to Majid being abruptly shipped to an orphanage. Georges refuses to share this information with Anne, and his lack of openness with her drives a deep wedge between them.

One day Pierrot does not come home from school and Anne cannot locate him. Georges and Anne suspect that he may have been kidnapped by Majid. They go to the police, who then arrest Majid and his son. They are soon released, and shortly thereafter Pierrot returns and says he was at the house of a friend whose mother works nights. When Anne asks Pierrot why he did not call, he accuses her of committing adultery.

Majid asks Georges to come to his apartment and commits suicide by slashing his own throat. Blood sprays all over the kitchen, harkening back to a childhood flashback by Georges. When Georges was 6 years old, he had asked Majid to cut the head of the rooster as a way of getting Majid into trouble. Presumably this act prompted Georges' parents to put Majid in the orphanage. At first it does not seem that Georges has reported the suicide, but the police later confirm his report. The entire ordeal has left a huge rift in the relationships of the family. In the final scene, Pierrot and Majid's son meet in front of Pierrot's school, though their conversation cannot be heard. The question of who sent the tapes is never concretely answered.

Reception

Caché premiered at the 2005 Cannes film festival. The film won numerous awards during its successful run at the festival, including the prize for Best Director, and the FIPRESCI prize.

Many critics saw Caché as a strong contender for the Palme d'Or that year. The film also won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. The film won several awards at the 2005 European Film Awards, including Best European Film, Best European Director, Best European Actor (Daniel Auteuil), and Best European Editor. [1] The French critics awards, announced on January 24, 2006 in Paris awarded Michael Haneke the best Screenplay Award for "Caché/Hidden".

Positive reviews

  • Deborah Young from Variety stated that: The tight pacing of Michael Hudecek and Nadine Muse's editing keeps the story fluid and focused but very concise, commanding audience attention from start to finish. [2]
  • Kirk Honeycutt at the Hollywood Observer stated that: In unraveling a nearly forgotten secret in the life of a self-satisfied and smug French intellectual, Haneke probes deeply into issues involving guilt, communication and willful amnesia. [3]
  • Roger Ebert from Chicago Sun-Times wrote: ...a perplexing and disturbing film of great effect, showing how comfortable lives are disrupted by the simple fact that someone is watching.[4]
  • The Guardian's notoriously hard to impress Peter Bradshaw gave the film an outstanding review and 5 out of 5 stars, describing it as "one of the great films of this decade" and "Haneke's masterpiece" [5]

Negative reviews

  • Andrew Sarris from New York Observer stated that: Too much of the plot's machinery turns out to be a metaphorical mechanism by which to pin the tail of colonial guilt on Georges and the rest of us smug bourgeois donkeys.[6]
  • Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle found the film fraudulent "in its style, technique and ultimate message," and that the director does "everything he can to bore the audience, and the audience tries not to fall asleep or flee the theater," making the film an "exercise in pain". [7]

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Caché (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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