In Movies & TV

French film's answers "Hidden" in a "Cache"

In "Cache," director Michael Haneke does an amazing job of creating a mysterious world that sucks you in, not to entertain, but to force thought and anxiousness. The English translation of the title, "Hidden," is pertinent because the audience is always searching for a meaning, for a sign, for the answers to what is happening within the movie.

"Cache" opens with more than five minutes of surveillance tape of Georges and Anne's (Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche) home. Is it a joke? Is it for real? Is it meant to torment them?

Georges hosts a television book review roundtable and Anne is in publishing. They have a son, Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky), who is in the beginning stages of puberty. They seem to be living above-average lifestyle.

More tapes and other items from the "tormentor" come quickly. The other items are what become the most disturbing for the family. There are crude drawings of a boy and of a rooster both with deep red blood spewing from them -- from the boy's mouth and from the rooster's neck.

The police are of no help -- it is not until the threat is actualized that then they can step in.

Georges starts to realize these are messages specifically for him. They are reminiscent of a childhood rivalry between him and servant boy, Majid. Granted, Georges was 6 at the time, upset that he may be getting a brother he never wanted. The rivalry ended with Majid being sent away because of something Georges did.

Could the torment be coming from a need for a revenge? The tapes start directing Georges towards talking with the adult Majid (Maurice Benichou). The result of their conversation doesn't make the torment stop, Majid denies knowing anything about the tapes.

Georges is still convinced that Majid has something to do with the situation. All the signs are pointing to him. Even when a bout of teenage rebellion occurs -- Pierrot doesn't come home one night -- Majid is automatically blamed.

The entire movie culminates with an extremely shocking scene, but the movie doesn't stop at that point. It keeps going, generating more unanswered questions, and nothing seems to be resolved.

Haneke seems to beg the question of who is actually doing the terrorizing? Georges gets a few tapes, but then he goes and threatens Majid and even gets him arrested. It becomes an upper-class versus lower-class type of battle.

Despite a complicated and heavy plot, Haneke focuses his film style on minimalism, even going so far as to exclude music. Being devoid of music, the audience is left with that feeling of general uneasiness throughout the film -- an uneasiness that continues even after the movie ends.

"Cache" opens Friday, March 10 at the Landmark's Downer Theater.


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OMCreader | Aug. 3, 2006 at 2:32 a.m. (report)

Yuriy said: How bizzare ! Only in 21st century do movies like this generate even a fraction of attention and wanna be intelligent discussion. There is nothing to this movie. A low budget, cheap composition. What is there to think about ? Or is it along such lines where i draw a circle and you have to tell me everything that i wanted to say by doing so ? All I can say is- madness. If I could have an hour of my life back I would take it with out a doubt. How could this movie generate 4 stars ? Unless a drugged up group of movie producers just could not find anything better and just had to stick those stars on something, than I can understand.

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OMCreader | July 26, 2006 at 9:06 a.m. (report)

jones said: who made the tapes?

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OMCreader | July 4, 2006 at 9:05 p.m. (report)

Janet said: This film certainly generates a lot of talk...I woke up thinking about it, and I strongly believe that George was the culprit all along. Evidence: His wife points out how sophisticated the filming of the scene between George and the alleged perpetrator is. In another scene, we see how George is quite astute at editing film re: his own programming - clearly, he likes to work behind the scenes. George's wife, who is mighty intuitive, remarks about how sincere the Algerian seems (yes, he's the antithesis of her cold, calculating and disturbed husband). Even George's estranged Mom (sure doesn't seem like he's been a very attentive son from their strained conversation...seems like he still harbors resentment toward the bleeding heart who almost adopted the Algerian orphan)expresses sincere concern over her son's strange conversation/inquiries/dreams. How come Anne doesn't recognize the place where her husband grew up? Has she never met Mom in person? Why the distance? The Algerian's son even makes a profound comment about George being the personification of guilt. Perhaps, George has been so tortured that in his warped mind, the only solution is to create this menacing farce that will inevitably lead to tragedy. Why does George's son receive a postcard with the sick picture on it @ school, and question his father about it? Is George so sick that he weaves his own son into his own evil machinations in order to make the story seem even more airtight? What's with the son's disappearing act and his subsequent accusation against his own mother - of being an adultress? Who planted these seeds in this removed 14 year old kid's head? Perhaps Daddy Dearest, for there's another troubling scene when Dad talks to his son, who's brushing his teeth. He's about to reward his son with the autograph from a famous author that the child had been fond of...the boy seems amicable with Dad...complicit, even. He treats his distant father so much better than he does his own mother, who is clearly more loving...more present (knows her son's whereabouts, cooks...). Misogyny seems to be another focus of this film that exposes much more than France's damaged relations with Algeria. What's with the seemingly unnecessary shot of the furry (monstrous George). Seeing this ugly man naked only makes him more grotesque. He falls asleep and is haunted yet again by the image of his own son consorting with the enemy. The ending sure begs the question: Who really lost the war? Sympathy and apolgies to Algeria, women, children, the poor and the defenseless, roosters included...

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OMCreader | June 26, 2006 at 1:19 a.m. (report)

Alan Baker said: How about this. Whilst the credits are rolling and the two boys are talking on the steps they are actually being flimed by the same type of stationary camera, as was used in the tapes, across the top of Georges BMW roof. Now was Georges sending tapes to himself?

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OMCreader | May 21, 2006 at 1:40 a.m. (report)

Mr Green said: I can see that the film has really left you with many more questions than answers. Well the answer that you are all seeking, is their friend that the dinner party talked about who was off making a film, but as they realised no one new what the script was about. Well this was man responsible for making the films and sending them, having been a close friend he knew all their pasts etc. Hence the statement I hate when you have to choose sides, you can see their friend has obviously chosen not to take their sides as was susbequently bent on ruining their cosy lives.

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