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There's a lot hidden in "Cache."

Posted at 6:01 PM on February 8, 2006 by Euan Kerr

I saw "Cache" by accident a few months ago, and it has remained with me ever since. I don't know if it was necessarily a happy accident, but Michael Haneke's disturbing thriller works on so many levels I'm glad I stumbled along with some friends to see it.

Now it's opening in Minnesota, and I'm dying to know how local audiences will react.

"Cache" swirls around a French couple who discover a series of video tapes left on their front porch. Someone is watching them: someone who clearly wants them to know they are being watched. But who is it? And why is this hidden person watching? As more tapes turn up it's obvious whoever it is knows them well. The film slowly reveals an answer which lies in deep in one of their personal histories.

This is a film about watching and being watched. Georges the husband (Daniel Auteuil) is an uptight literary critic who hosts a TV show. He wants people to watch him, but only on his terms. His wife Anne (Juliette Binoche) watches as their happy family existance spins out of control, driven by forces she doesn't comprehend.

There are times in the film where the audience is not sure what it is watching. Is this the next chapter in the story, and things are moving forward? Or are we watching a tape, and looking into the past? There are periods where the camera rests in one position, and as a viewer, a watcher, an audience member begins to desperately search for something on the screen which might provide a clue as to what is going on. Sometimes there is something there, but not always.

Haneke brilliantly resists tying up all the loose ends. Yes, we learn much of what is going on, enough to wrap up the storyline. But we don't learn all of the answers, and it's been intriguing in the months since to talk to other folk who have seen the film to get their theories on the hidden photographer's motives and intent.

Haneke's film would have been creepy at any time, but given the current controversy over covert surveillance the film takes on yet another wrinkle. It kind of makes you wonder, who's watching us now?

February 2006
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