Wednesday 10 March 2010

Caché (Hidden) [2005]

A number of critics have called Cache Austrian provocateur Michael Haneke’s most accessible film vis-à-vis his other works like Funny Games and The Piano Teacher, because of its lack of nerve-racking or incendiary contents. I, however, beg to differ for the simple reason that it’s intellectual depth far outweighs the other two works, making it a potent and an incisive precursor to his brilliant masterpiece The White Ribbon. A bourgeois Parisian family starts receiving tantalizingly menacing videotape recordings of their home from a mysterious stalker who may or may not have revenge in his mind. And that opens a can of worms from the husband George’s guilt-ridden past that threatens to rip apart his upwardly mobile family through introduction of such destructive germs as fear, paranoia and distrust. But at a broader level, the movie manages to go beyond that. The family’s ordeal forms the perfect allegory to France’s chequered colonial past making the film a powerful socio-political commentary. At the forefront of this work sans any background score lies the astounding performance of Daniel Auteuil as George. The climax will fascinate some, while leave others frustrated; but there’s no denying the movie’s ability to unsettle, disturb and provoke its audience.

Director: Michael Haneke
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Psychological Thriller
Language: French
Country: Austria


Alex DeLarge said...

Another great review! This made my Top Ten of the decade, a film that will, like you expressed, fascinate some and frustrate others. I use this film to introduce my non-cinemaphile friends to Haneke and most are puzzled, but think about it for days.

I usually follow with TIME OF THE WOLF before pulling FUNNY GAMES off the shelf:)

Sam Juliano said...

Excellent capsule, but that's par for the course here! Yes, Shubhajit I quite agree this is Hanecke's most intellectually challenging work, and to this point it's his one irrefutable masterpiece. I also agree with Mr. DeLarge that TIME OF THE WOLF is his second best. I agree that its about paranoia and distrust, but as you rightly note there's fat more to ponder here. Daniel Auteuil is superlative, and your observation here is dead on:

"The family’s ordeal forms the perfect allegory to France’s chequered colonial past making the film a powerful socio-political commentary."

Daniel said...

I have to say you've done an impressive job distilling this movie into just one paragraph! I need to see it again as it is so richly layered, but certainly there are some images that will remain in my head forever.

Shubhajit said...


Thanks a lot Alex. Yeah, I remember that it made your top ten of the decade cos I'd followed your countdown. In fact I still remember expressing surprise that you'd chosen Kim Ki-Duk's 3-Iron over his Summer, Spring...

And yes, Time of the Wolf is on my must-watch list. So I guess, it has been a different order for me, cos Funny Games was the first Haneke film that I'd watched.


Thanks a lot Sam for the good words. You're too kind. As I noted in my review, the movie's intellectual quotient reminded me about his White Ribbon which I'd watched hardly a few weeks back. And it certainly challenges the viewers to walk out of the kind of comfort zone that normal thriller tend to create for them.

As a critic rightly observed about Haneke's approach here, the movie doesn't offer any easy-to-have medication, rather chooses to take the more difficult route by conducting a thorough diagnosis of the situation at hand.


Thanks a lot Daniel. The one-paragraph reviews that i write are more out of convenience than creative decision :D And yes, I agree, this movie does merit revisiting. I too must revisit it sooner or later in order to do justice to this piece of work.