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Academy Award(r)-winner Juliette Binoche (1997, Best Supporting Actress, The English Patient) stars in CACHÉ, a psychological thriller about a TV talk show host and his wife who are terrorized by surveillance videos of their private life. Delivered by an anonymous stalker, the tapes reveal secret after secret until obsession, denial and deceit take hold of the couple and hurl them to the point of no return. CACHÉ is director Michael Haneke's dark vision of a relationship torn mercilessly apart by the camera's unblinking eye.
Hidden throughout Caché is the sense that you should be watching every moment in this film closely, just as the protagonists are themselves being watched by someone unknown. Georges and Anne Laurents (Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche) enviable lives are terrorized by the sudden arrival on their doorstep of a videotaped recording of their Parisian townhouse. Its nothing but a long, unedited shot of the façade of their house, but its disturbing nonetheless. Soon another arrives, this time of the farmhouse Georges grew up in, and then another of a car driving down a suburban street, and a walk down a hallway to a low-rent apartment. Again the videos are benign but unsettling. Then the mystery becomes more threatening when they receive gruesome postcards depicting child-like drawings of bloody, dead stick figures. Georges believes he knows who the culprit is, but for reasons all his own refuses to let his wife in on the secret. Clearly more is hidden here than just the identity of their stalker. In Caché, writer and director Michael Haneke skillfully, methodically pulls back multiple layers of deception, like new skin being pulled off an old wound. he masterfully fuses elements of his predecessors to create a film that is haunting and memorable. There is Bergman's fascination with the complexity of relationships, the suspense and lurking danger of Hitchcock, and the unique cinematic sensibility of Antonioni. In fact, the provocative final shot is practically a tribute to The Passenger--a lot of people will want to rewatch it many times to see what they can find in it (if, after watching it, you are still unsatisfied with the resolution, then watch the interview with Haneke in the DVD's special features for his insights). It's a film of great effect and intrigue. There are no easy resolutions, and the answers given in this mystery will only lead to more questions. --Daniel Vancini
- Documentary on director Michael Haneke
- Behind the scenes of Cache
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• No one but him could have gotten the surveillance camera in the first scenes as high up in the air--at least ten feet high, towering over cars and people--and as far away from the building.
• At 13:17 on my DVD there is a large shadow on the left of the screen that sure looks like a movie camera to me.
• None of the characters in the film was likely to have had access to the professional level videotape used in the surveillance, or bothered to use it if somehow he did have access to it.
• It appears Anne received a phone call from the “stalker.” All the usual suspects either had an accent or a youthful voice, and she would have noted that fact to Georges, but she didn’t. It was Haneke on the other end of the line.
• The dialogue in the first encounter between Georges and Majid and the surveillance tape of it don’t match, and only Haneke could have made that happen.
• The last scene in the movie, where Majid’s son and Georges’ son Pierrot spoke in front to the school steps, which led a lot of people to conclude that they were in cahoots, had to be about something other than making the surveillance tapes, because neither one of them could have done it. For that matter, their connection may have had nothing to do with anything, because those were two actors who did whatever Haneke told them to do.
To end with an aside, I’m suspicious Haneke, not one of the characters in the film, was the one who tripped the horse in “The White Ribbon.”
I give it only four stars for a number of reasons, though. As an American, first of all, I and most other viewers of the subtitled movie will not be able to really appreciate the cultural messages as someone from France may. Secondly, the main character wore the same outfit the whole movie; such really takes from the experience. Lastly, slightly less ambiguity may be desirable, but this is just a matter of personal preference.
This movie would not be suitable to merely watch on a whim once, and viewers require a certain degree of patience. But it is good nonetheless., and I would definitely recommend the movie to someone with several hours on hand.
The main focus of the movie would appear to be how Georges deals with the guilt he carries over a selfish act he comitted at the age of 6. However, the ultimate tragedy of the film would clearly NOT have occurred if it were not for the tapes. Consequently, the more serious culpability here is completely glossed over because it is Georges the movie is focused on. While one could certainly find interest in the guilt carried by Georges, the fact that it is completely overshadowed by the ultimate responsibility of the voyeur and his tapes makes that apparently unknown individual the far more interesting case. Presumably that individual wanted to remind and reinforce Georges guilt-- something perfectly consistent with Majid's invitation to witness the suicide. If instead, the voyeur was Majid's son, the guilt he would have to carry for his own father's death would be significant. And any other party would have to carry even more. Consequently only if Majid was himself responsible as Georges ultimately concludes, leaves the most important moral questions in focus, and in fact, are Majid's not Georges'.