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Code Unknown (2000)

Juliette Binoche , Thierry Neuvic , Michael Haneke  |  NR |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Juliette Binoche, Thierry Neuvic, Josef Bierbichler, Alexandre Hamidi, Maimouna Hélène Diarra
  • Directors: Michael Haneke
  • Writers: Michael Haneke
  • Producers: Alain Sarde, Christoph Holch, Marin Karmitz, Michael Weber, Thilo Kleine
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Arabic, English, French, German, Romanian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 6, 2002
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000068MAL
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,574 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Code Unknown" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

On a bustling Paris streetcorner, four separate lives intersect, setting into motion a stunning film by acclaimed filmmaker Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher, Funny Games), which has been called "the most intellectually stimulating and emotionally provocative piece of European cinema of recent times." Carefully interweaving the stories of Anne, a promising actress (Juliette Binoche), her photojournalist boyfriend Georges (Thierry Neuvic), a young teacher of African descent (Ona Lu Yenke) and a Romanian illegal immigrant (Luminita Gheorghiu), Haneke crafts a compelling portrait of life in a fractured, lonely world. As these divergent stories gradually unfold, the seemingly unrelated lives prove to have very much in common, as they struggle for love and acceptance in society of locked doors and cold stares.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful film - A 100% AWFUL DVD!!! August 21, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is wonderful, innovative film that combines multiple story lines and characters in a method that seems jarring but that has a finer interrelation of lives in mind than the usual narrative. That said, this is an absolutely AWFUL quality DVD edition of Code Unknown as released by Kino in the US.
The transfer is a LOW resolution, letterboxed, non-anamorphic, non-16:9 enhanced, heavily compressed dupe with poor color quality and heavy video artifacts throughout. It is without any added features whatsoever or the ability to turn off the subtitles. Kino is obviously representing some fine films, but if future releases by Kino follow the pattern of Code Unknown it will poison the well of any enthusiasm on the part of the discerning audience Kino depends on to buy copies of these sorts of films.
The Kino release of Code Unknown is being sold at a premium price, but has the quality of a cheap knock-off DVD, no better than buying a VHS tape.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant shot of European Life November 26, 2002
By A Customer
Format:DVD
It is rare when watching a film, to see reality realistically depicted. Code Unknown is one of those rarities.
Haneke's film is a modest masterpiece, devastating in its honesty and sincerity. Taking "snapshots" of various peoples lives communicated in about 50 sequences he poses universal questions about conscience, consequence, communication and reality.
In her finest performance ever Juliette Binoche is stunning as the actress on the verge of success. Just watch her act straight to the camera in a terrifying scene that turns out not to be real at all, and then be harrassed on a train in a horrible episode that turns out to be too real.
Code Unknown is at times frustratingly opaque - like life. It is a film that has never been fully recognised for it's brilliance or originality. Unsurprising considering how difficult it is. Stick with it however and discover a richly satisfying film, worthy of repeat viewings and much argument.
As for the DVD. The quality is not great in it's full frame letterboxed transfer. The print is scratchy and the sound hollow. A huge pity. This film deserved a lot better.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The deciphering of human enigmatic behavior... May 22, 2004
Format:DVD
Code Unknown begins with a scene where a a large group of hearing-impaired students are playing charades by acting out emotional behaviors. As the audience observes the scene it becomes clear that the students cannot decode the acted out emotional behavior. The story is in regards to the human inability to understand or read these behavioral cues as they are presented in society and Haneke embodies these cues through a number of "incomplete tales of several journeys". These "incomplete tales" consist of a large number of scenes that begin in the middle and end before the end, which suggests that the ultimate beginning or ending does not really exist since all interactions are linked to the consequences and are deciphered by each individual. Clever directing fuses these scenes together with distinct fade outs that seems to lead haphazardly to a different character's tale, yet within the disorder Haneke creates a neat methodology that presents several intriguing tales. These tales deal with several social and political issues such as racism, love, attitude, poverty, and much more. Code Unknown displays the possibilities of great cinema as Haneke deliberately forces the audience into contemplative action through his creative scene constructions and challenging cinematography. In addition, the cast performs brilliantly, one example is a close-up shot of the character Anne Laurent (Juliette Binoche) as she is preparing for a film role where she is going to die. This shot is modern film history as it personifies fear with cinematic brilliance. In the end, Code Unknown is cinematic art that leaves the audience with an enigmatic riddle of human behavior which is left for the audience to decipher as the story suggests.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What we have here is a failure to communicate... July 19, 2006
Format:DVD
Code Unknown was a revelation. The first Michael Haneke film I've seen, I was surprised at how vitriolic the reviews have been here and on the film's IMDB page - arty-fartsy and incomprehensible seems to be the general concensus, yet I found it remarkably vital and accessible for a film revolving around race relations and everyday failures to communicate. Starting with an incident on a French boulevard where misinterpreted actions have consequences for all the wrong people, it proceeds in a series of incomplete scenes by people linked by the incident or their relationships with those involved, taking in a multi-ethnic city where so many people have shut off from those around them that they either fail to understand each others' problems or to even make the effort.

What's particularly interesting is that it plays on the audiences own prejudices and presuppositions - at one point we naturally assume that a young black character is seated away from the window booth he requested in a restaurant because of his color, but no: it's because he turned up 45 minutes late and the place is busy. Similarly, it doesn't presume that people in what are supposed to be empathetic or compassionate professions are inherently good - when Juliette Binoche's actress asks her war photographer boyfriend advice about the sounds of child abuse from a neighboring flat, he doesn't want to know and her anger is more because he won't give her an out but forces the situation back on her. Her solution: ignore it. Even the innocent victim of the opening incident has to admit with shame that she herself had done the same thing to people she looked down on.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Very dis-jointed movie
After ENDURING this movie, I went back to thee reviews to see why so many good ratings. Can say that i'm still at a loss to see why people were moved by it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gerry C.
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Recommended
Movie was poorly written, consequently hard to follow and connect.
Published 2 months ago by Lisa Jahn
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Choppy, no plot line to follow and the ending does nothing to draw the movie together for the viewer.
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Carpenter
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult
The movie wasn't my type hard to follow May be suitable for others the script was difficult to follow with
Published 7 months ago by Scott Northup
2.0 out of 5 stars Not to be watched unless you are well rested
this is typical Binoche movie. Lots of plot lines that dont seem to connect. Vignets that start somewhere after the beginning and end before the ending. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Donald S. Crawford
1.0 out of 5 stars Binoche Can't Save It
Total waste of film and everyone's time and talent.

Student production design. Horrendous script, a waste of my time and money.

I love J. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Laurence38
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to say...
Ha, Ha and Ha!
What does the director want to tell us?
Probably the answer is "Code Unknown". Read more
Published 20 months ago by Joven
4.0 out of 5 stars All you need is love...
I am a big fan of Michael Haneke. I think that as a director, his approach to the art is certainly focused, unique and provocative. Read more
Published on May 3, 2011 by Andrew Ellington
5.0 out of 5 stars How People Fail to Communicate
Code Unknown is the last film in the Michael Haneke box set I watched (also the first, because without a director's interview, I had to watch it again to try to understand it). Read more
Published on July 3, 2010 by Zarathustra
4.0 out of 5 stars The complex intertwinings of every day life
This unusual film presents a `slice of life' view of several individuals' lives who reside in Paris. Read more
Published on August 2, 2009 by Utah Blaine
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