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Code Unknown

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stef:

Great paragraph, except its ending sounded like a third verse tacked onto a major release Nashville ccm hit.

Thanks! :wink:

But i needed more than just obscure imagery to explain to me why she acted in the ways she did. Perhaps not as wrapped up as you mentioned before that would defeat the honor of the film, but i needed something more in there to make me care. So she goes to video booths and sniffs the tissues men have left behind. I find that repulsive, and don't really care much more about her than that action in itself permits.

Yes, absolutely! It was repulsive. I found it to be a very unsettling film and at times difficult to watch. But I found it difficult to watch because in many ways, that was me sitting there sniffing those tissues (metaphorically speaking, of course). I sin. Sometimes I try to hide my sin -- but I do it anyway. Do I have to understand the exact reasons why a person sins in the ways they do? Sometimes the sin is disgusting, sometimes it is "mundane," but it's all sin and therefore "short of the glory of God." And I can relate to it because although I am forgiven and try to lead an upright life, I still sin.

Huppert's character is running away from her real issues the entire movie. I don't think I need to see any more of her life to understand that. And the more I think about the film, I believe that's the issue. Will she confront her "demons" and find redemption? I believe the film deals with "why" quite powerfully as I expressed previously, but what kept my attention and what kept me watching is "will this character confront her demons?" In the end, she did not. And, to tread the dreaded "third CCM verse" line, I'd say she couldn't because in her own human nature she cannot.

Now, might Haneke have told this story in a less gruesome way? Sure. But this is powerful to watch. It demands the audience's attention and reactions. And, I daresay, it's rather poetic.

Just a few more thoughts I had about the film... tongue.gif

I need to watch Code Unkown again...


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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By the way, folks, Stef's Code Unknown review is now up

at Looking Closer,along with my compare/contrast of Capturing the Friedmans and Stevie.

Thanks so much, Stef.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

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

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Funkytown."    

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I like that last paragraph Mike except the oft used term \"moral\" to describe what is going on in the last scene. It doesn't seem that Haneke is speaking so much there about \"ethics\" as he is \"communication\".

Here I am in Bushnell, on vacation, on the Public Library computer, and we're still talking about Code Unknown -- which is turning out to be one of the richest films I've ever encountered in terms of igniting a conversation that won't quit. I see your distinction between "communication" in general and "communications involving ethical evaluation" and I wonder if the distinction can be made so firmly. I would suggest that it's worth talking about whether or not any communication has some sort of evaluative component, with the argument over "the good" always in the background somewhere. In any case, I've been reading a book on narrative and community this week in which the contributors keep coming back to Alisdaire MacIntyre's discussion of narrative and ethics in his After Virtue. I find myself scribbling "Code Unknown" in the margin constantly. I'd love to continue the discussion of this film in the context of MacIntyre's discussion for anyone interested, as his own insistence on "context" in moral reasoning jibes so amazingly well with Haneke's discussion of same (contra (M)Leary). All to say this film keeps getting better the more I think about it.

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Yeah, I am a big MacIntyre fan as well, After Virtue pretty much is the Summa for a post-conservative theology. I certainly agree that we shouldn't talk about ethics any other way. Seeing some of Haneke's other stuff in this context works very well too. I just didn't pick up much on a "transcendent morality" in that last scene. His experience of being "shut out" because he didn't know the code just seemed to be a summing up of the film's message about communication in social relationships. It was juxtaposed with the drum beating. But then we could say that communication at its base is always an ethical act, and depends on the ethical alignment of two social entities. So I guess we are saying the same thing anyway.

This is mere quibbling though compared to the fact that we now have a MacIntyre discussion on the board. What book is it that you are reading?


"...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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The book is "Memory, Identity & Community: The Idea of Narrative in the Human Sciences" ed. by Lewis & Sandra Hinchman. (check it out at Amazon.)

Among many things I find facinating about this book, which includes a chapter excerpt from After Virtue, is how so many of the contributors feel compelled to respond to MacIntyre in their own theorizing. If you dig After Virtue, I think you'll really like this book. And, as I said, it would make for an amazing context for the ongoing discussion of Code Unknown. Man, I'd sure like to get MacIntyre to speak at Cornesrtone next year... I guess he's at Duke these days. Any contacts?

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I will find that book and read it. A good substitute speaker may be Kevin Vanhoozer here at TEDS, he is of the same caliber. He is pretty good on film too, but very keen on virtue epistemology and all related subjects.


"...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)

Filmwell | Twitter

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April was Michael Haneke month at the Gene Siskel Film Center downtown. I got to see a handful of Haneke films I hadn't seen, including Time of the Wolf. Therefore, I think I'm in a much better position to think about Code Unknown than I was when that was the only Haneke film I'd ever seen. Many people have had good things to say about Time of the Wolf, but I think at this point I'm still thinking Code Unknown is the better film overall. It certainly is a more wholistic Haneke experience, playing more notes of his personal aesthetic and thematic scale than any other of his films I've seen.

The problem with trying to talk about this, is that the less you know about films like Benny's Video, The 7th Continent, even Time of the Wolf, the more powerful the experience, and I don't want to diminish any of these for you. Let's just say that the primary notes Haneke seems to emphasize have to do with violence and voyeurism. Imagine the "locked in a room" scene from Code Unknown going on for feature-length: Haneke generates more tension than any director I can think of, with a combination of long takes and suspending incredibly painful and tense moments through an almost unbearable duration. I left nearly all those other films emotionally devastated, whereas the effect of Code Unknown was actually upbeat. I'm not arguing for happy endings per se here, just that Code Unknown gives a fuller picture of the human experience and the other films seem to specialize on themes that Haneke is obsessed by.

I've been too quick at times to compare Haneke to Kieslowski, and I just watched the entire Three Colors series this weekend and was reminded not to be too quick to compare anybody to Kieslowski, who deserves to be in a class all his own. Code Unknown is as Kieslowki as Haneke gets: in that because he's playing more notes, the work is closer to that thematic and visual symphony of which Kieslowski is the true maestro. But specialists have their pleasures and place as well, and Haneke's repeated interogation of his pet themes is bracing and morally cleansing in their way, like the cauterizing of a gangrenous limb.

Practically speaking, Haneke is still with us and we won't be getting any new Kieslowski films, so he's the horse I'm currently placing my bets on. I wouldn't want him to stray from subjects that posess him, but I also wouldn't mind a few more films like Code Unknown that give us a little bit more notes of the human scale. But sometime let's create a spoiler-laden thread where we can discuss the other Haneke films. These are amazing, devastating, brilliant movies that -- while certainly not for everybody, not for the squeamish especially -- should be a prominent part of the movie diet and discussion of those who like the sort of films we talk about here.

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I have read through this thread with considerable interest, but I am unclear why this film qualifies for the 100. How exactly is it spiritual?


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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The Invisible Man wrote:

: I have read through this thread with considerable interest, but I am unclear why this

: film qualifies for the 100. How exactly is it spiritual?

Well, it uses long shots, and it stars Juliette Binoche, and at least one scene takes place in eastern Europe ... that's about all it takes, really. wink.gif


"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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You read all that and you don't understand how it qualifies? Have you seen the film? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

-s.

PS I always like it when someone resurrects an old thread. I'm the only housekeeper around here, I go thru, locate all my old posts, edit and resubmit so that the quotes aren't so hard to read. My, my, I am Martha Steward of the A&F Crowd. snowflake.gif

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 haven't seen Code Unknown, but it sounds like the sort of thing I might enjoy. However, from comments made both here and elsewhere, it seems less spiritual than political. Hence my confusion.


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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I just saw this yesterday, and I haven't really put all the pieces together of this puzzle of a movie, but this film resonates with me. I'm going to try and watch this again, and think about this more, before I read the posts in this thread.

Some initial comments/notes:

1. I wasn't clear about the time and sequence of events in the film. Did the film move in a linear fashion? For example, Georges can't get into the apartment at the end of the film because the code is changed. Jean can't get into the apartment because of the code is different at the beginning of the film. I wondered if the last scene with Georges occurred before the first scene when Anne leaves her apartment.

2. The film seems to be about at least some of the following: immigration and our attitude and treatment of immigrants; the way we respond to those that are vulnerable (i.e. children) or those that are in need of assistance.

3. I'm not sure what the whole movie-within-a-movie thing is all about.

4. I liked the way the film requires the audience to get involved and "fill in the blanks" to understand the film. Haneke doesn't "over explain" the movie, and I really liked that aspect of it. The film requires a significant amount of thought and analysis before I can come to a conclusion about it.

Edited by Jazzaloha

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Some thoughts after having skimmed through the film a second time...

(spoilers)

1. One of the big themes in the film seems to be the way we--particuarly those that are priveleged--ignore people in need--particularly children--and how terrible that is. I see that as consequence of the lack of connection we have with each other.

2. The film could also be speaking about the way we experience life through media (i.e. George through his photographs and Anne through film) more than actual life itself.

3. Is there a bit of the "noble savage" concept working through the film? The refugees seem more noble than those characters from Western civilization.

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I saw this over the weekend. I was a little lost the first time, but after a second viewing I finally caught what was going on. The film works on several levels: An exploration of the lifestyle of immigrants in modern-day France; a look the difference between vocation and reality, whether acting or journalism; and an exploration of how difficult it is for human beings to communicate in the modern world. I found the last one the most striking, especially as this point was brought home in the cryptic final scene. The tracking shots allow the viewer to immerse himself in the rhythms of Parisan city life, and were fascinating to watch. I found it a very interesting and absorbing film. The mid-scene cuts were jarring, and I still can't figure out the significance of some scenes. However, in the way it develops its characters and the thoughtful exploration of class and racial interactions and the flaws within us all, this film puts Crash to shame. It's well worth watching. And this has been a very insightful thread.

Jazzahola wrote:

Is there a bit of the "noble savage" concept working through the film? The refugees seem more noble than those characters from Western civilization

I think the bus scene where we see Arab's hassing Juliette Binoche's character, this brings some balance to that concert, showing that not all refugees are angels, but there's good and bad people of those cultures, like there's good and bad in all cultures.

Edited by Crow

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The other images aren't really in there, are they?


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

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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OK, I thought we were getting a Fincher Fight Club or something and I never knew it.


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

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Can someone please confirm that I'm remembering this correctly? Wasn't it in Code Unknown that there was an outdoor scene of a man welcoming home his wife, and as they saw each other they remained completely silent, and embraced each other in a welcoming hug as the wind began to whip in hard on them?

Seems like it was shot right outside a barn or something.


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

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Yep. Takes place at a transit station or an airport, I can't remember. I think it's an airport. One of my favorite moments in the film. And it was never more effective than when you and I saw it in that furnace of a barn at Cornerstone 2003.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

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

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Funkytown."    

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I can't wait for you to see Disengagement. It reminded me so much of Code Unknown. Every scene was shot in one take, Juliette Binoche is stellar -- truly... There's an incredible hug in Disengagement (I'm having a hard time thinking of a more incredible hug), and the title of the film can be applied in countless ways.

It's ending will not stand up to Code Unknown. I can see people walking out going, "Wasn't that abrupt?" "What the heck was that?" But when you think about it, it's perfect. (IIRC, some of us thought the same the first time we saw Code Unknown -- which, if anything, tells me I can't wait to see Disengagement one more time.)

It is not a Code Unknown Part II or anything, but its beginning and ending scenes, and the thematic intricacies that all play out, remind me quite a bit of Code Unknown. Need more people to see it and come back here to tell me I'm right.

Edited by Persona

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

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Just saw it for the first time.

I have two initial impressions: 1) Shooting each story segment as a single take was simultaneously brilliant and frustrating. It placed the viewer into the story as another character observing the events, but not showing any larger picture also made the viewer slowly piece together the connections. (I suspect on repeat viewings it would become less frustrating.) 2) Towards the end when the drum music shifted from source music (when played by the students) to underscoring as the final bits of the stories all came together was one of the best uses of music I've heard in a film.

That's all for now. I need to think this over for a few days, and then (hopefully) rewatch it.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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