Title:  Cache   (“Hidden”)

Release Date:  2005

Nationality and Language: France

Running time: 117 min

MPAA Rating: R

Distributor and Production Company: Sony Pictures Classics / Losange

Director; Writer: Michael Haneke


Cast:   Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Benichou, Walid Afkir

Technical: regular aspect

Relevance to DOASKDOTELL site:  How the past catches up with someone


When I heard about this film, my first thought was David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” where a couple starts receiving unsolicited videotapes of their life. Here something similar happens, but for a much more sinister purpose because the premise seems so real.  


In fact, the premise here is that a mature adult, at the height of his career, could have inadvertently wronged someone in his youth, and suddenly hear from the person in some bizarre manner a few decades after the supposed misdeeds. Georges (Daniel Auteuil) is a television producer in Paris, and he lives in a densely populated pocket of row houses. The film is shot flat, with a lot of close-ups, Hitchcock style, with a lot of densely packed urban and indoor sets that would not expand to wide screen easily. Alfred Hitchcock used to say, in fact, that he hated CinemaScope because it was hard to do close-ups with it.


The opening scene outside their Paris condo, in fact, we soon learn is really a video, that can be sped up to show their goings and comings. Georges and his wife Anne (Juliette Binoche) live with a certain indoor opulence, and they are feeling threatened by receiving the unsolicited videos. It’s kind of like getting unsolicited emails making implied threats. At one scene, Georges almost hits a black cyclist with his car and has a street confrontation.


In time he tracks the tapes down to an inexpensive flat, occupied by a Middle Eastern man Mijad (Maurice Benichou) with whom he had shared a partial childhood on a farm. Now Mijad had been adopted after the Battle of Algiers in 1961, but Georges’s parents decided to send him away into a second rate life, something that fits into Muslim discontent with the recent riots in France. But Mijad insists that he did not send the tapes. There are disturbing drawings about decapitating chickens. A tape gets sent to Georges’s boss at the TV station. Soon Georges’s son Peirrot (Lester Makedonsky) disappears, and he fears a kidnapping, and involves the police. Eventually, Georges gets invited back to the flat to witness Mijad’s suicide by slitting his own throat quickly. The scene is graphic.  Mijad apparently believes that his whole life has been dishonored by what was done to him as a little boy on the country farm. But it turns out that the son has been sending the tapes.


At this point, certain questions come up. Mainly, could the Muslim family have chosen more modern methods. For example, post the story on a web site and let it be found by search engines. That makes another variation of this kind of story.  



Related reviews:. Lost Highway  The Battle of Algiers  


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