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Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:38 pm
by howardschumann(d)
CACHE (Hidden)

Directed by Michael Haneke (2005)

Shown at the Vancouver Film Festival, Austrian director Michael Haneke's spine-tingling Hitchcock-like thriller, Cache is a metaphor for the denial of French responsibility for the treatment of Algerians in its colonial past and its current treatment of immigrants. The first five minutes of Cache shows a placid street scene outside of a suburban Parisian home with people coming and going long into the night. It is not until several minutes into the film, however, that we realize we are watching videotape sent by unknown persons to the family of Georges Laurent (Daniel Auteuil). The tape is wrapped in a drawing showing blood coming out of the side of the mouth of a young boy

Haneke is masterful in showing the murk that is hidden beneath the outward calm of our comfortable middle-class lives, a recurring theme in many of his films. Here, Georges is the host of a literary TV talk show and his wife Anne (Juliet Binoche) works at a publishing house. Their complacent lives are filled with dinner parties, intellectual conversations, and general indifference to the outside world, a world that only intrudes when the TV news tries to get their diverted attention. Georges is disturbed by the tape, even more so than Anne, but he only contacts the police after a second tape shows up. Predictably, the police refuse to do anything unless the family is under direct attack. The mystery of who sent the tapes increases as Haneke builds an unrelenting atmosphere of imminent danger in a low-key manner without the use of foreboding music or Twilight Zone effects.

As nerves become frayed, tension erupts between husband and wife and explodes into acrimony when their twelve-year old son Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky), stays at a friend's house all night without letting them know, bringing up fears that he has been kidnapped by the stalkers. Soon, another tape reveals a stone farmhouse where Georges grew up and where his invalid mother still resides. His visit with his mother (Annie Girardot) brings back long buried memories and Georges is forced to confront a terrible secret hidden since he was six years old. He tells Anne that he has a hunch who is behind the threatening tapes but refuses to tell her who he is thinking of, prompting her to deplore the lack of trust in their relationship.

He visits an Algerian man named Majid (Maurice B$BqO(Bichou) whose parents worked for Georges' family during the French colonial repression in Algeria in the 1960s but Majid, unruffled by the accusation, denies having anything to do with the tapes. The full extent of Georges' treatment of Majid when they were both children slowly begins to emerge, however, leading to a shocking if somewhat elusive conclusion. Though the whodunit is actually less important than its implications, Cache is not a polemic or a political tome. It is a superbly crafted, entertaining, and challenging film that makes us painfully aware of the consequences of the lack of individual responsibility and creepy paranoia of modern life and of Western arrogance toward people considered inferior. It is Haneke's most accessible and enduring achievement.


Re: Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:53 pm
by Sara
Thanks for your review, Howard.

Haneke's The Piano Teacher is one of my favorite movies, with of course Isabelle Huppert at her very best.

I am renting the Time of the Wolf (also with I. H.!) and hope to rent Code Unknown soon. Haneke is a fine director.

I look forward to Cache coming out on DVD.


Re: Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:41 pm
by howardschumann(d)
He is also one of my favorite directors, though I can only take him in small doses. Thanks for your kind comment.

Re: Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 9:29 pm
by manicmo
Your summary is very well written, but I am frustrated by the last scene in Cache and would love some further comments and speculations..

Re: Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 9:36 pm
by howardschumann(d)

The last scene shows the two sons talking together in front of the high school. I don't think Haneke wants us to think about the tapes so literally as to imply that the sons collaborated on the videotapes. However, the younger generation's disgust makes sense on a metaphorical level (i.e. French-Algerian relations) and shows that there is hope for the next generation. I'd prefer to see the final scene as obliquely as possible, and I think Haneke shoots it that way for this very reason. At first I thought that Haneke wanted us to believe that the boys were behind the tapes but now I feel that it's just too pat an explanation.

Re: Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:07 pm
by A
Haven`t seen the film yet, but Haneke hasn`t disappointed me with the films I saw by him. Code: Unknown is my favorite one, followed by "La Pianiste".
And who can resist a dream cast with ma favorite french male and female actors. Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil in one film...

Re: Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:12 pm
by howardschumann(d)
Hope you can see it soon but I'm not sure if it has gotten distribution. Code Unknown is also one of my favorites.

Re: Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 2:59 am
by A
Just got the info today that "Cache" will be distributed throughout Germany in January 2006. Guess I'll have to wait a while.

Re: Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:43 am
by hengcs

I have just watched it ...
For this one, I will definitely write something ...

Re: Cache by Haneke

PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 12:33 am
by wpqx
I'm wondering why I never added any comments to this thread, considering I saw the film almost a year ago. My second Haneke film and infinitely better than The Piano Teacher, and I still seem to be the only person on earth who disliked the film. Cache was a much more compelling portrait, and I didn't take a great deal of care with the "last shot", even though I was forewarned that a clue was there. I thought this film was above a mystery notion of "who did it" and that was far from the point, and that final shot was only an afterthought for people demanding some sort of closure, without providing it in an obvious way. Seeing the film with a packed house in the music box, I can say that everyone's jaws dropped in one scene, and anyone who saw the film knows exactly what I'm talking about. Its an odd sound to have everyone gasp at once.