A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
In today’s culture, the need to feel ‘secure’ is paramount. The lengths that mega-rich owners of outrageously labyrinthian mansions will go to, as far as security is concerned, is ridiculous. With apparently no trust left in the general public, the immense amount of CCTV cameras, or cameras in general for that matter, that dominate our contemporaneous culture is staggering and somewhat (excuse the security pun,) alarming.
With such a great sense of comfort triggered from such devices that are designed to ‘protect’ you; objects that constantly monitor your house, your backyard, your kitchen etc, how would you feel if you were sent video cassettes on a constant basis consisting of hours upon hours of footage in the similar style?
For Georges and Anne Laurent (Daniel Auteuil & Juliette Binoche), their lives are not overpowered by self-installed security cameras that comfort them, however they do find themselves, mostly Georges, subject to a series of tapes that have captured them in there day to day lives. Devoted neighbourhood watch at its finest? Or sadistic voyeurism as its scariest? The latter would seem to be the case.
German-born Austrian director Michael Haneke’s 2005 mystery drama “Caché” or “Hidden” in English is based around a married couple who receive disturbing video cassettes on their doorstep along with mysterious child-like drawings. Georges, the primary target initially keeps these mysterious tapes to himself, but as they begin to amount, he informs his wife about the issues and the two seek help, all the while trying to hunt down whoever is responsible.
As with any convoluted mystery drama, the antagonist is a complete mystery, and the process of finding out who they are is a long and tedious one. The audience accompanies Georges as he delves into his past, which as the film progresses, is seen to be not idealistic in itself. We, the audience begin to learn of Georges’ childhood and adolescence in increasing detail, which continuously adds more and more to the mystery of the video tapes.
The film is cleverly put together. The editing is minimal which allows for long, drawn out and endless takes to dominate the narrative. There are plenty of still, excessive shots that are in fact from the point of view of the camera, which reinforce the element of voyeurism and invasion in the film. These shots showing Georges and Anne returning from work or out in public make you, the audience, feel as if you’re in fact the one who is eavesdropping, a very clever technique to engage the audience even more than it already does.
The film doesn’t have a soundtrack. There are no musical accompaniments to extend the tension or drama in the piece, in fact the lack of score makes the whole overall experience even eerier .
With the longer takes and absent musical numbers, “Caché” is a minimalistic film in many ways, however there is so much depth in not just the characters but the story itself. The way it plays out is totally unexpected at points, with brief, sharp and brutal moments adding immense shock to the seemingly slow paced mystery drama.
A highly engaging tale that forces the audience to question their judgements at every turn, “Caché” is a fantastically enthralling and fascinating thrill ride. A solid narrative is the driving force for the mystery and progression of the film, and how it resolves itself in its ambiguous nature is excellently achieved.