Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Top Ten Films of the Deacde, 2000-2009: #6

#6. CACHE (Michael Haneke, 2005, France) The implosion of the nuclear family as they split into separate elements, this fission powered by shadowy lies and hidden truths leaving behind a barren emotional wasteland. Someone is secretly filming George and Anne Laurant, an affluent and professional couple, and leaving videotapes on their doorstep. These videos depict the outside of their home as they go about their mundane morning rituals, but the hidden camera seems impossibly placed. Soon violent childlike drawings accompany the videos and this annoyance quickly becomes alarm and anxiety. George secretly realizes that these drawings reveal a childhood secret, one that he has never even shared with his mother. As the tension builds, they began to turn their anger upon themselves: their relationship dissolves, and their teenage son is caught between the parental angst. Though George believes he may have solved the puzzle, he follows the lead to a dead end, a crimson splash of madness. When George is confronted with the fact of his own immoral behavior, that he carries the burden of death heavy upon his shoulders, he is scornful and taken aback: in his mind his actions were justified…and he can’t admit he may have been mistaken. The puzzling answer remains at the suicide fringe, just out of reach. Instead we are left to ponder George’s abstruse agenda, the lies breathed sincerely towards his wife, and her possible clandestine affair. Michael Haneke creates a film within a film utilizing exact camera placement, softening the distinction between the malignant voyeur’s hidden camera and the audience’s omniscient viewpoint. I believe Haneke’s theme is this: as in all Cinema, we (the audience) are witness to intimate and hidden lives and given privileged knowledge: we become part of the drama; we are ultimately the voyeurs.

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