Caché (2005)

Reid, 24. April 2006, 22:37

Dir. Michael Haneke
Starring: Daniel Auteil, Juliet Binoche, etc.

Haneke is one of the more interesting and talented directors out there.
If you want to know the general plot, the film is about a couple that is receiving video tapes of their home–indicating that someone has been watching them. They also receive menacing childlike drawings. Haneke is a director that will not give any easy explanations and has a lot of faith in the audience’s ability to figure out what’s going on.

While I liked the direction, I felt a little underwhelmed after seeing the film, at leat until I read another person’s comments on the film–which really opened me up to the meaning. (The following is a brief discussion of another person’s interpretation of the film.)

What the person said was that the film was about France’s guilt–and covering of their guilt–over the way they treated Algerians. The film also refers to the current immigration problems in the country. I did not see the film in those terms at all, but the interpretation does fit. I would probably give the film a 6, although after hearing that interpretation the film probably gets a 7.

4 Responses to “Caché (2005)”

  1. Arlyn

    I watched Haneke’s The White Ribbon (2009), Cache, and Code Unknown (2000) this past week. Although I didn’t enjoy The White Ribbon as much as the other two, I appreciated the different styles of the films. It felt like I was watching two different filmmakers.

    I’m interested in films dealing with French Algerian history and liked that part of Haneke’s story in Cache. Also, it was interesting to see the story of a Romanian immigrant living in Paris in Code Unknown.

    I liked that the actors in Cache, Juliette Binoche (Anne), Maurice Bénichou (Majid), and Walid Afkir (Majid’s son), were also in Code Unknown.

    Haneke is a director that will not give any easy explanations and has a lot of faith in the audience’s ability to figure out what’s going on.

    He ended the movie in a way that I’d never expect, leaving us with unanswered questions. There were times I couldn’t tell if we were watching the surveillance video tapes or the actual movie. Cache definitely deserves a second viewing.

    Thank you for introducing me to Michael Haneke.

    The White Ribbon 68/100
    Cache 78/100
    Code Unknown 72/100

  2. Reid

    Glad you liked the films. To bad, Penny wasn’t still posting because she and I were watching all of his films and discussing them. (Oh, btw, do you mind if discuss Haneke in this thread, Film Discussion on Haneke? It will make finding the conversation at a later date a lot easier.

    As for Cache, I can’t remember specific comments about it, but it wouldn’t be strong contender for one of the best films of the decade. Any thoughts about the meaning of the film, particularly the ending? (Btw, I had a somewhat amusing conversation about one specific interpretation–namely, that Haneke, as the director, was the one leaving the tapes! The idea sounds absurd, but I actually investigated the issue with some other people, and I personally concluded that was not the case.)

  3. Reid

    Some comments about my interpretation of the film:

    I think the film is saying several things. To the French (and Europeans, in general, perhaps) the film is critiquing the intellectual, the older generation and those running the government of their hypocrisy—to profess liberal values, on one hand, while not supporting more progressive policies towards immigrants (specifically Arabs/Muslims), on the other. Bringing up the past mistreatment of the Algerians by the French government (society) reminds them of this hypocrisy, partly. It also says that acts of cruelty can’t be hidden forever. They will emerge someday.

    The surveillance in the film signifies that these people are being watched—on the stage, so to speak—and that their actions and hypocrisy can’t be hidden. That the previous bad deads will resurface—that people are aware of them and that you can’t hide from them.

    My claim that the film’s primary target are intellectual/liberals/older generation is purely a guess on my part. These are the individuals (versus conservatives and populists who are more open to xenophobic approach) the film would seem to implicate. Georges is an intellectual and one who would support more liberal/progressive position towards immigrants (e.g. we should allow them into the country; give them an opportunity; allow them to express their culture and religion), but who actually supporting curtailing the immigration of Arab/Muslims and their cultural-religious practices. That could be totally off base—as I have only a cursory knowledge of what’s going on in France/Europe right now regarding Arab/Muslim immigration issues.

    As to how the film’s message applies to non-Europeans, I’m not sure that it does. One could extrapolate and argue that the film implicates any country that esposes policies against their professed values. Personally, I don’t think the film is that universal, but, again, I can’t make a good case for that. (Did anyone see Atom Egoyan’s Ararat, which goes into the Armenian massacre by Turkey? Both films are similar, not only in trying to address the way countries hide from past atrocities, but that both films have a specific goal and meaning targeting a specific country/region.)

  4. Arlyn

    The film’s message could apply to any country and to any individual that may discriminate against immigrants, especially because of race and religion.

    Did anyone see Atom Egoyan’s Ararat, which goes into the Armenian massacre by Turkey?

    I’d never heard of Egoyan’s Ararat but would like to see this, eventually.

    I’ve read Michael J. Arlen’s autobio, Passage to Ararat, where the author traveled to Armenia to learn more about his father’s past, Russian/Turkish involvement in Armenian history, and Turkey’s involvement in the Armenian genocide.

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