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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk (Spoiler Edition) => Topic started by: andrijzip on January 06, 2007, 10:30:02 AM

Title: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: andrijzip on January 06, 2007, 10:30:02 AM
I just watched this, and really enjoyed it.  Let's start with the ending.  I'm assuming you noticed that Majid's son and Pierrot meet, talk and then go their separate ways.  This could mean one of two things:

1. Pierrot and Majid's son were in on it together.

2. Majid's son is trying to reconcile what happened to his father by reaching out to Pierrot.

Personally, I'm inclined to believe the former.  Having said that, if the second is what happened, meaning Pierrot and Majid's son didn't send the tapes, then who sent them?  I read on Wikipedia that they could be metafictional, and that Haneke, the film's director, "sent" them to the Laurents, which is an interesting theory.  This seems to be supported by the fact that the drawings foreshadow Majid's suicide.

As well, I read in some reviews to pay attention to the swim meet.  I did, but couldn't find anything worthwhile, other than a teenager with a camcorder, which seems to be a dubious clue at best.

All in all, I thought that this was a taut, intelligent, provocative film.  It works well on many levels - an examination of guilt in contemporary France and the West, a criticism of liberal intellectuals  choosing to ignore pressing issues, a suspensful Hitchcockian thriller and, possibly, metafictional mindbender.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: TomSt on January 23, 2007, 03:12:18 PM
I really enjoyed most of this movie too.  It built up a huge amount of tension and intrigue and I was completely drawn into it.  Unfortunately, I think any plot-driven analysis of the ending is going to be disappointing (which was my first reaction).  Now I'm hoping it was meant to be meta-fictional (and viewed that way, I think it's a very good film all-around), but if so, I wish the director had found a way to clue us in to that.  As it is, I'll bet this film is disappointing to most people that see it.

One interesting thing I realized about 2/3 of the way through the movie is that there was absolutely no music (or almost no music... I didn't really check).  I think it's great.   I think music should be used less in movies in general, but I guess that would cut down on variety of moods one could create.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: sdedalus on January 24, 2007, 12:25:02 AM
I finally watched Lost Highway the other day.  Aside from it being the first David Lynch film I've really liked, I was extremely happy to learn that the only original and interesting thing about Michael Haneke's Cache was directly ripped off from Lynch.

Now I'm free to think the whole movie's lame.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: alexander on January 29, 2007, 01:48:47 PM
And Lynch maybe saw a certain Maya Deren film that came out 50 years before Lost Highway.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: sdedalus on January 29, 2007, 10:24:47 PM
Which?
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: philip918 on January 30, 2007, 01:24:53 AM
I think I've already ranted about Cache in another thread, but the bile is still hot in my throat, so I think I'll spew some more.
Cache is one of the most relentlessly heartless and emotionally stunted films I've ever seen.  I can see how it works on the macro level (the characters represent French society itself) and the micro level (the characters themselves), but to crucify a young child over vying for his parents affection in order to make the point that France has treated its Algerian immigrants extremely poorly, is goddamn callous and cruel.  As much as the French heap scorn on the bourgeois, this film reeks of the naive, self-righteous, super-political correctness that only the privileged classes can afford to hold.
This film spleens me.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: Wowser on February 19, 2007, 05:41:22 PM
I finally watched Lost Highway the other day.  Aside from it being the first David Lynch film I've really liked, I was extremely happy to learn that the only original and interesting thing about Michael Haneke's Cache was directly ripped off from Lynch.

Now I'm free to think the whole movie's lame.

You're insane. It's a better film than Lost Highway.

I like the way it creates such an amazing sense of fear through such  understated means.

Also, the way they captured middle class life in France seems, to my mind, perfect - for instance the literature discussion programme he hosts.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: aliaimee on February 19, 2007, 07:49:00 PM
Sdedalus, man those are harsh words! I wrote a couple of papers on Cache last year and most sources found the film to be an inversion of Hitchcock's Rear Window (in fact a lot of Haneke's films play on Hitchcock's). I'm not sure if that will raise or lower Cache in your esteem though.

Was much of the history behind the film reported on during its release? Do you know that it's Haneke's investigation into the 1961 Paris massacre, where between 30-200 (documents are still classified) peaceful French Algerian demonstrators were beated by police and thrown into the Seine. The prefecture of police at the time, Maurie Papon was brought up on war crimes in 1997 (for his part in the deportation of over 1000 French Jews to Auschwitz) and this later massacre was brought up during the trial. In 61, Papon's official report claimed only 2 people had died as a result of police mistakes, and the remaining deaths were due to Algerian fratricide. It wasn't until 2001 that French government took steps to redress this terrible lie and the Mayor of Paris erected a plaque: In memory of the numerous Algerians killed in the bloody suppression of the peaceful demonstration on 17 October 1961.

Apologies if this comes across as a stream-of-consciousness history lesson, but I think a bit of context helps to deconstruct where Haneke was coming from with this film. To me, Cache is a study of the processes of guilt and denial, and the repercussions these have for future generations. For 40 years this terrible event, which took place in the centre of Paris, has remained wilfully forgotten; the fratricide wasn't amongst Algerians but Frenchmen...
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: philip918 on February 19, 2007, 09:30:29 PM
I totally agree that the history behind the film is extremely relevant and terrible.  I think the vehicle used to examine that history (and quite superficially, in my opinion) is dead wrong.  Offensively so.  If they had just made the kid a little older, a young teenager, someone who has learned right from wrong, the film would have been a little more credible to me.  Young children as cute as they can be, are beastly little things, they just haven't been inculcated by social norms yet.  I basically view this film as the social stoning of a six-year-old boy.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: aliaimee on February 19, 2007, 10:26:04 PM
I didn't see it as the social stoning of a six year old at all. Something Haneke says in the interview on the DVD is that Georges reaction as boy was normal - and I didn't see it as a condemnation of his actions then, but his failure to recognise and take responsibilty for his actions as an adult. It's a moral quagmire to be sure - should he feel sorry for his boyhood transgressions? Spun out onto a national and global contemporary level though: should France come to terms for the brutal policies enacted during the Algerian War (particularly when in 1968 de Gaulle granted amnesty to all police and military personnel for treasonous acts and war crimes committed during the French-Algerian war)? Should Australia say sorry to the Stolen Generation? Should Americans for Hiroshima and Nagasaki? All these things have taken place in our nations' pasts and collective amnesia or denial is not the way to deal with it. It took 40 years for Paris to take responsibility and 'remember' 17 October 1961, where as Georges takes some sleeping pills and cocoons himself in darkness - literally anesthetising himself from his past.
As an allegory for the actions of nations, particularly towards their colonial histories, I believe Cache is extremely effective and disturbingly provocative.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: philip918 on February 20, 2007, 12:19:01 AM
I think it's great that you took so much away from this film on the global scale.  I think you're right, it asks some provocative and pertinent questions about nations and society.
However, two things on the character level of the film kept me from being able to enjoy it, whatsoever.  First, the overly harsh judgment of the child's actions, regardless of Haneke calling them "normal" or not.  Second, the implication, actually Majid makes it pretty clear, that Georges is responsible for Majid's death.  Sure, Georges actions as a six-year-old child had terrible ramifications for Majid's life, but come on, not to sound like a Republican, but how about just a teensy weensy bit of personal responsibility here?  Majid's suicide effectively ends any action Georges could have taken (granted Georges was taking his sweet time trying to skirt the issue) to make some sort of amends.  Of course Georges wants to curl up in bed and hide from the world.  Some guy just slit his throat in front of him and accused him as being the cause of it.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: sdedalus on February 20, 2007, 01:24:31 AM
Sdedalus, man those are harsh words! I wrote a couple of papers on Cache last year and most sources found the film to be an inversion of Hitchcock's Rear Window (in fact a lot of Haneke's films play on Hitchcock's). I'm not sure if that will raise or lower Cache in your esteem though.

Was much of the history behind the film reported on during its release? Do you know that it's Haneke's investigation into the 1961 Paris massacre, where between 30-200 (documents are still classified) peaceful French Algerian demonstrators were beated by police and thrown into the Seine. The prefecture of police at the time, Maurie Papon was brought up on war crimes in 1997 (for his part in the deportation of over 1000 French Jews to Auschwitz) and this later massacre was brought up during the trial. In 61, Papon's official report claimed only 2 people had died as a result of police mistakes, and the remaining deaths were due to Algerian fratricide. It wasn't until 2001 that French government took steps to redress this terrible lie and the Mayor of Paris erected a plaque: In memory of the numerous Algerians killed in the bloody suppression of the peaceful demonstration on 17 October 1961.

Apologies if this comes across as a stream-of-consciousness history lesson, but I think a bit of context helps to deconstruct where Haneke was coming from with this film. To me, Cache is a study of the processes of guilt and denial, and the repercussions these have for future generations. For 40 years this terrible event, which took place in the centre of Paris, has remained wilfully forgotten; the fratricide wasn't amongst Algerians but Frenchmen...

Yeah, him riffing on Hitchcock doesn't help him in my estimation.  Brian DePalma either, for another can of worms.

The history's there in the film.  But it doesn't make it any better.  I think there's another thread around here where I complained about the film in more detail. . . .
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: sdedalus on February 20, 2007, 03:15:04 PM
from Variety:

Howard decodes 'Cache'
Director eyes French film
By DIANE GARRETT, DIANE GARRETT, STEVEN ZEITCHIK


Ron Howard may unlock an American version of "Cache" for Universal.

Brian Grazer will produce the remake for Imagine, which acquired the rights from Plum Pictures, with Howard looking to direct.

Plum's Celine Rattray will exec produce, along with Randy Simon, and Plum's Galt Niederhoffer and Daniela Taplin Lundberg will co-produce.

Michael Haneke wrote and helmed the French original, which starred Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche as a couple who find increasingly violent videos on their porch. Haneke won the director prize at Cannes for the film in 2005.

Sony Classics released it Stateside late that year; pic, also called "Hidden," went on to earn $3.6 million at the domestic box office. Universal version, to be set in the U.S., is expected to amp up the suspense and consequences.

Howard has several other potential projects in the offing. Besides "Frost/Nixon," the bigscreen adaptation of the play, there's "The Da Vinci Code" follow-up "Angels & Demons" and "The Look of Real," an examination of the garment industry that could star his daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: Wowser on February 20, 2007, 03:53:09 PM
Christ...
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: philip918 on February 20, 2007, 08:51:42 PM
The horsemen of the apocalypse draw nigh...
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: EddieBarzoon on February 21, 2007, 10:30:40 AM
Just to get back on topic for a minute -

What does conventional wisdom say regarding the ending? Were the 2 sons in on it together? This theory doesnt hold water for me. I liked this movie, but I have to admit I was confounded by it.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: philip918 on February 21, 2007, 08:32:47 PM
If someone could put forth a more definitive explanation of what went on in the last scene I'm all for it.  Before seeing the film I had read reviews raving about the mysterious final shot, so much to my surprise I'm watching the film and suddenly the credits are rolling.  "That's it?" I think to myself, rewind it and watch it again, and again.  It's been over a year now, but what I remember was a car with the orphanage people pulling up.  Some servants bring out a bag or two and then dragging out the protesting Majid.  He tries to run away, but is caught, put in the car and driven away.  I thought it was pretty much a straightforward depiction of what happened to Majid when he was younger.  I thought I paid attention, but that's all I got from it.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: aliaimee on February 23, 2007, 07:21:45 PM
Just to get back on topic for a minute -

What does conventional wisdom say regarding the ending? Were the 2 sons in on it together? This theory doesnt hold water for me. I liked this movie, but I have to admit I was confounded by it.

First of all, crikey, what the hell is Ron Howard doing an American remake of Cache for?! Wrong...very wrong...

Regarding the ending, Eddie, Haneke has deliberately left it open for interpretation (he has strong opinions about active spectatorship). He even had dialogue for that final conversation between Pierrot and Majid's son, but won't say what it was. Then, given the fact that around half of the first time viewers won't even see the boys, you've got to think the ending isn't supposed to be a simple case of "ohhh, so they did it" (although I believe that is the inference if you do notice the boys). Actually, the first time I saw it I thought Majid's son was threatening Pierrot - I was worried when I saw him grab Pierrot's shoulder and steer him down the stairs. Later viewings made me think it was more a casual, friendly meeting - but who knows.
I think the more disturbing thing is the placement of the camera in this scene - as ever it is impossibly 'hidden', which could as someone mentioned, be suggestive Haneke's extradiagetic or self-reflexive technique. Again, I think the film's meaning is greater than the parable of Majid and Georges, and the ending is representative of the broader themes and politics Haneke wants his viewers to contemplate.
I can recommend this article if you'd like to read a more eloquent discussion of what I've tried to articulate: http://www.realtimearts.net/rt75/ford_hidden.htm
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: Wowser on February 23, 2007, 07:26:31 PM
Alia is wise indeed. It's a brilliant interview he does. Bavarian film makers - can't beat em :)
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: philip918 on February 24, 2007, 10:47:30 PM
Are we even taking about the same scene here?  The last shot was a flashback to the young Majid being taken away, right?  Or did I just fall asleep after that?
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: aliaimee on February 25, 2007, 12:55:12 AM
Whoa! No the last scene was the shot of the school. Think you must have caught some z's after the flashback. I suggest grabbing an expresso and having another look at the film!
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: philip918 on February 25, 2007, 01:00:53 AM
Ah, oh yeah.  Still don't like it.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: aliaimee on February 25, 2007, 01:05:31 AM
Alia is wise indeed. It's a brilliant interview he does. Bavarian film makers - can't beat em :)

hahaha danke, wowser, das stimmt! Gotta say I found that interview very frustrating though....he looked like the cat that had got the proverbial cream!

Phillip - you're hilarious. We'll agree to disagree with this one then!
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: philip918 on February 26, 2007, 02:36:11 AM
Agreed, no sense beating a dead horse.
Have you seen Battle in Heaven?  Now there's a film to talk about.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: EddieBarzoon on February 26, 2007, 09:38:49 AM
I can recommend this article if you'd like to read a more eloquent discussion of what I've tried to articulate: http://www.realtimearts.net/rt75/ford_hidden.htm

Your link doesnt work. Regardless, I dont really want the director's take on it - I'm sure he intended the ending to be ambiguous. I was just wondering what people here thought.
Title: Re: Cache (Hidden)
Post by: aliaimee on February 27, 2007, 02:59:05 AM
Apologies, Eddie - try http://www.realtimearts.net/rt75/ - that will get you to the index then select ford_hidden.html
And this isn't an interview with the director, rather a discussion of the cultural, thematic and technical aspects of the film. Thought you might be interested. But yes, my two cents worth: loved the ending...sat there going 'What the F*ck?!', turned to my friend, who expressed much the same. One reviewer called it a Rorschach montage - which I think is the best way to describe it.

Phillip - indeed, let's leave the horse rest in peace. Battle in Heaven? Nope...do tell!