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America is the land of the sequel.

So what, pray tell, is this :?: I'm rubbing my eyes, but i'm almost sure that's a sequel to Code Unknown.

-s.

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Scratch that. This Anne works in a publishing house. It is interesting, though, that Juliette Binoche's character has the same name as the character in the other Haneke film she was in.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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America is the land of the sequel.

-s.

That's Funny, I thought America was the land of the remake.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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FOOLS! America is known simply as "the Home of the Washington Redskins," who are, after a long wallow in mediocrity, sittin' in the catbird seat once again. WOO-HOO! Hail to the Redskins!

This is the *only* news story in D.C. this week, so I had to find a place to work it into our discussion board.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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[Total kidnapping of his own thread]Green Bay is going to win the Superbowl this year.

[/Total kidnapping of his own thread]

-s.

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Oh no.

I was really hoping that Haneke would never do anything along the lines of Funny Games again. I just can't take it anymore. Code Unknown and Time of the Wolf were such radical genre-stretchers that I thought his next film would continue this new tradition, but now he goes back the shock treatment.

But maybe I am reading too much into that short summary. By the time the guy turns to the camera and he rewinds that scene halfway through Funny Games I was already overwhelmed. Haneke has already made that point so clearly that I hope he isn't trying to make it again. Besides, Noe is beating him at his own game on that dark note anyway.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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  • 2 months later...

The plot thickens...

IMDB Plot Summary for  

Cach

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 7 months later...

For American audiences I'm sure this is going to be quite unsatisfying. Nothing is ever explained. And the ending may be a threat of some sort, but you really don't know.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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I think it's a great film. Not as ambitious or complex as Code Unknown, but it's more focused than Time of the Wolf, and what seems simple increasingly reveals itself as rich and meaningful. I think it's interesting that the film is in theaters while A History of Violence and Munich are in theaters. It's tells the same story, in a strange way, as if the three directors got together, discussed a sketchy premise, and then went off to make movies based on that idea.

The last shot is fantastic. :spoilers:

At first, it seems like just a bunch of folks filling the screen. But there is one very, very interesting event in that shot. Did you catch it?

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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It finally arrives in Chicago at The Music Box Theater next week. I won't miss this one for the world. You can't get any better than Haneke and Binoche -- together.

-s.

PS Trailer Here.

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I saw the event in the last shot. It is as ambivalent as the rest of the movie.

Also, many reviewers make note of post-colonial guilt, but that is so minor in the film that I don't think it really needs mention.

That Majid is Algerian is not as important as the young Georges insecurity in sharing his parents.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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What post-colonial guilt? I see it much more a personal insecurity on Georges's part. Algeria meant nothing to him. Majid is not a lingering trouble in Geroges's mind until he seems a threat. The films struck me as almost apolitical.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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What post-colonial guilt? I see it much more a personal insecurity on Georges's part. Algeria meant nothing to him. Majid is not a lingering trouble in Geroges's mind until he seems a threat. The films struck me as almost apolitical.

I just wrote up a pretty long-winded response at Cinemarati so I didn't want to repeat the whole thing, but I also disagree that the two are not mutually exclusive. Georges is very much the prototypical bourgeois Gallic Frenchman (and woman).

I'd day that it's not so much about post-colonial guilt though as it is about how to assimilate (or in this case, not allow assimilation of) these "immigrants" from former colonies into such a strong identity culture as French culture (this is also how I think Jean-Luc Nancy's ideas also mesh in Claire Denis' L'Intrus, and I think that these two films and Nicolas Klotz's La Blessure are all tapping into this same theme of cultural enabling of rejecting "otherness"). George's insecurity is essentially a cultural allegory for the "native" French not wanting to share their country (their fatherland or motherland if you will). His transgression is an intrinsically chauvinistic response, something in line with the then-current events of voting 'No' on the EU consitution by preying on fears of bogeyman "Polish plumbers" descending into France and taking away jobs. There's also a strong 9/11 parallel in the story in terms of how the threat of terrorism is being responded to, so in this sense as well, I definitely think that Cach

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I felt that the glimpse of American intervention in Iraq on Georges' television... well, it's more than a glimpse, it's quite a long segment... was the most heavy-handed gesture I've seen in a Haneke film. It felt like a lapse in his usually impeccable judgment, and it cheapened the film for me. I think anybody watching this film will find current-events interpretations hard to avoid, and this felt like stating the obvious and stating it loudly.

aquarello, it's great to see you again! Welcome back!

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Thanks for the welcome, Jeff (and Stef in the film discoveries thread)! Happy to be back.

Haneke has always been a bit heavy handed though, and he seems to really like to use that device of "current events" broadcasts to contextualize the social climate (like Celine Dion at Eurovision in The Seventh Continent or the Balkan Wars in Code Inconnu), so I'd say that the subtlety of Code Inconnu is more the exception than the rule. In terms of theme devopment though, Cach

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Jeff, can you please fully spoil the last shot for me? 'Cuz I was with three people, and I don't think any of us saw what you saw. We discussed it at length, too, trying to "decode" it, only to realize that no one decodes a Haneke film. To make it that simple would take away from his genius, and after Code Unknown I'd rather give him the benefit of the doubt.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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:spoilers:

I don't think Haneke SOLVES the mystery for us. I just think he offers us an intriguing possibility, by allowing us to see Georges' son and the son of the Algerian man meeting in what looks like a serious but brotherly encounter at the school, as if some piece of information is being passed between them. (They meet in the lower left corner in front of the steps.) If that is the case, then is it at all possible that they conspired to pull this off? After all, the Algerian man doesn't seem like a tech-savvy guy, but his son might be, and Georges' son would probably have been able to afford the equipment and get access to his father in several places.

It seems like a stretch, and I'm glad that isn't offered up as an absolute explanation. But it is a great tease, and one that suggests the next generation might be wiser and more prepared for the future than we think they are. (That brings us little comfort, however, regarding the fact that their pact, if it occurred, led to the suicide of the Algerian. Or, perhaps, the Algerian brought it about with the help of the boys?)

Any other theories?

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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That was one of the possiblities that the scene suggests.

It could also be that the Algerian's son might be setting up another way of getting vengence. Maybe setting up Georges' son to get hurt.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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BTW, Cache is not eligble for Foreign Language Oscar. Austria can't submit it because it's in French. France can't submit it because Haneke is Austrian. Gotta love those AMPAS rules.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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If you haven't done so already, be sure to follow the link that Acquarello posted. It's to his write-up at Cinemarati, which also includes a long and interesting discussion in the comments section.

After I saw Cache at TIFF, one of my friends asked if I thought the last shot wrapped up the film's mystery. As fascinated as I was by that shot, it had never occurred to me that Haneke would want us to "solve the crime," so to speak. My friend's question made me realize, though, how oblivious I am to plot most of the time. Anyway, I really like Acquarello's reading of the film (from the Cinemarati discussion). It helps to explain my reaction to and interest in the film better than anything else I've read:

I think that the key difference is that Haneke operates as a scientist, not as a humanist (although one is not mutually exclusive of the other) when he makes a film. I could have sworn that I mentioned him being a social anthropologist somewhere in here, but it must have been someplace else (too many parallel conversations going on). Another one in this filmmaking vein is Shohei Imamura; they both have a very clinical view of society as an organism, and their approach is a variation of scientific method: introduce a catalyst -> observe the organism
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Darrel Manson wrote:

: That was one of the possiblities that the scene suggests.

It could also be that the Algerian's son might be

:

setting up another way of getting vengence. Maybe setting up Georges' son to get hurt.

Possibly, although that last scene between the boy and his mother leads me to run with Jeff's explanation instead.

Which, incidentally, semi-ruins the film for me.

There came a point in this film where I figured asking the question "where are these videotapes coming from?" was an exercise in futility and point-missing, because [1] there would be no answer to this question, and [2] the characters were behaving in increasingly unrealistic ways, which would only be a problem if I were treating this as a "realistic" story which offered at least the possibility of resolving this mystery, and [3] the film was really trying to operate on the level of abstract fable, or visual metaphor, or something.

Discovering that there might actually BE an explanation undermines the movie, for me -- especially because of point [2].

Sample question: If

the Algerian guy's son really IS behind the videotapes

, then

how is it that he knows exactly where to position his camera BEFORE the French guy visits and the Algerian guy invites him inside, and that he knows when this visit will occur so that he can have the tape rolling, etc., etc., etc.

?

Incidentally, Stuart Klawens of The Nation has an interesting critique of the film:

I begin with the straight razor, the razor blade, the keen metal stud, the hacksaw--all the tools that have sliced into human flesh in Michael Haneke's films, advancing his plots while they mirror his style. His images are cold, gleaming and precise; his view of characters, dispassionately cutting. Think of Haneke as a clinician, dedicated to treating society's ills, and his movies will seem like scalpels. Think of him as a less benevolent type, and the films become Austrian chain saws.

[ snip ]

Yet Cach

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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