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Code Unknown


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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: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000068MAL
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,738 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Code Unknown" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

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

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 61 people found the following review helpful By APC Reviews TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eric M. Eiserloh on June 25, 2007
Format: DVD
Without giving anything away, let me offer a comparison to the hollywood oscar winner "Crash" because they have similar themes. They both deal with the psychological and communicative dis-functions particular to our modern, multicultural world. Both films also deal with the suffering we create through our behavior toward one another by way of our assumptions, beliefs, and prejudices.

Stylistically, however, these two films have little in common. Whereas "Crash" plays like a pilot for a tv series, weaving its characters and their stories together in support of its themes (as it holds our hands throughout and takes us where it wants us to go), "Code Unknown" is a puzzle in fragments that we must assemble ourselves from the layered information we are given. Whereas "Crash" connects too many improbable conversations and events with possible ones in order to hit us over the heads and wrench our hearts with its message, "Code Unknown" entrusts us with cinematic clues and metaphors that we must use to construct our own understanding. In "Crash" everyone tells us everything they feel and think thereby limiting the possibilities of what we are allowed to imagine. To the contrary, "Code Unknown" invites us to rely our own abilities (as perceivers) to discover what truths there are."Crash" has a few brilliant scenes, but once we have seen it there is nothing left to experience, wonder about, or really discuss. The show is over, and now we know everything about it (just as with every hollywood film) . "Code Unknown" (like all works of art) is made up of one brilliant scene after another, but more importantly it entreats us to reflect, as well as interpret. It also invites us into conversation about it, even asks us to return and discover again.... cinewest
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 26, 2002
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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