Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Haneke|
|Produced by||Veit Heiduschka
|Written by||Michael Haneke|
|Distributed by||Les films du losange|
|Box office||$16.2 million|
Caché [ka.ʃe], titled Hidden in the UK and Ireland, is a 2005 French psychological thriller written and directed by Michael Haneke. Starring Daniel Auteuil as Georges and Juliette Binoche as his wife Anne, the film follows an upper-class French couple who are terrorized by anonymous tapes that appear on their front porch and hint at Georges's childhood memories.
Caché opened to acclaim from film critics, who lauded Binoche's acting and Haneke's direction. Its plot ambiguities raised considerable discussion. The film has been interpreted as an allegory about collective guilt and collective memory, with parallels often drawn between its narrative and the French government's decades-long denial of the 1961 Seine River massacre. Caché has been regarded in the years since its release as one of the greatest films of the 2000s.
The quiet life of a Paris family is disturbed when they receive a series of surveillance tapes of the exterior of their residence from an anonymous source. Georges Laurent is the successful host of a French literary television program, living with his wife Anne, a book publisher, and their 12-year-old son Pierrot. Unmarked videocassettes arrive on their doorstep, tapes that show extended observation of their home's exterior from a static street camera that is never noticed. At first passive and harmless, but later accompanied by crude, disturbing crayon drawings, the tapes lead to questions about Georges's early life that disrupt both his work and his marriage. But because the tapes do not contain an open threat, the police refuse to act.
One videotape leads Georges to the modest HLM apartment of Majid, an Algerian man whose parents worked for Georges's family before they were killed in the Paris massacre of 1961. The orphaned Majid remained in the Laurent home, and Georges's parents at one time intended to adopt him. Georges confronts Majid about the tapes, but he denies involvement. However, the encounter intensifies his guilty flashbacks and recurring nightmares of a young Majid spitting blood, cutting off a rooster's head, and menacing him.
One day Pierrot does not come home from school and cannot be found. Georges and Anne suspect that Majid has kidnapped him. They go to the police, who accompany Georges to Majid's apartment. There they find Majid and his son, who both deny knowledge of a kidnapping. The police arrest them but they are released the next morning. Pierrot returns home shortly afterwards; he had spent the night at a friend's house without telling anyone. When Anne scolds Pierrot, he implies that she has an inappropriate relationship with Pierre, a family friend.
At Majid's request, Georges returns to the apartment, where, after stating that he had nothing to do with the videotapes, Majid says he wanted Georges to be present for what follows, and kills himself by slashing his own throat. Anne insists Georges explain the whole story with Majid, and he tells her that when he was six years old he tricked Majid into cutting off the head of the family's rooster, then told his parents that Majid did it to scare him. This sufficiently disturbed his parents that they sent Majid away to an orphanage.
Majid's son comes to the television studio and finds Georges, who denies responsibility for Majid's unhappiness and death. The younger man denies knowledge of the tapes, saying he only wanted to know how Georges felt about being the cause of his father's death. Georges goes home, takes two sleeping pills and goes to bed.
In what then may be Georges's dream or a flashback, a man and woman arrive at his childhood home in a 1960 Peugeot. They enter the house, leave with an Arab boy who protests, resists getting in the car, and runs away before finally being caught and overcome by the man, forced into the back seat with the woman, and driven away.
Under the credits, Pierrot and Majid's son meet in front of Pierrot's school, though their conversation cannot be heard. Majid's son leaves, as does Pierrot with a couple of his friends soon after.
- Juliette Binoche as Anne Laurent
- Daniel Auteuil as Georges Laurent
- Maurice Bénichou as Majid
- Lester Makedonsky as Pierrot Laurent, Georges and Anne's 12-year-old son
- Walid Afkir as Majid's son
- Annie Girardot as Georges' mother
- Daniel Duval as Pierre, a friend of Georges and Anne's
- Bernard Le Coq as Georges' boss
- Nathalie Richard as Mathilde
- Denis Podalydès as Yvon
- Aïssa Maïga as Chantal
- Caroline Baehr as Nurse
- Christian Benedetti as Georges's Father
- Philippe Besson as TV Guest
Caché was produced by Margaret Ménégoz and Veit Heiduschka and received international backing from Films du Losange, Wega-Film, Bavaria-Film and BIM Distribuzione which are respectively based in France, Austria, Germany and Italy. It is directed by Michael Haneke, and is the first film he made using high-definition video cameras; it also has no film score.
Deborah Young from Variety stated, "The tight pacing of Michael Hudecek and Nadine Muse's editing keeps the story fluid and focused but very concise, commanding audience attention from start to finish." Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter stated, "In unraveling a nearly forgotten secret in the life of a self-satisfied and smug French intellectual, Haneke probes deeply into issues involving guilt, communication and willful amnesia." Roger Ebert from Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "...a perplexing and disturbing film of great effect, showing how comfortable lives are disrupted by the simple fact that someone is watching." Ebert later revisited the film as an entry in his "Great Movies" series, discussing nuances of the plot and direction (and the implications they might have) in more detail. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw gave the film five out of five stars, describing it as "one of the great films of this decade" and "Haneke's masterpiece".
The film's detractors include Andrew Sarris of The New York Observer, who wrote, "Too much of the plot's machinery turns out to be a metaphorical mechanism by which to pin the tail of colonial guilt on Georges and the rest of us smug bourgeois donkeys." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle found the film "[fraudulent] in its style, technique and ultimate message," writing that the director does "everything he can to bore the audience, and the audience tries not to fall asleep or flee the theater," making the film an "exercise in pain".
Caché premiered at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and received three prizes: Haneke won Best Director, while the jury honored the film with the FIPRESCI prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. The film won several awards at the 2005 European Film Awards, including Best European Film, Best European Director, Best European Actor (Auteuil), and Best European Editor (Michael Hudecek and Nadine Muse).
The film was submitted as Austria's entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards, but was disqualified as French is not predominantly the language of Austria.
Awards and nominations
|Broadcast Film Critics Association (US)||Best Foreign Language Film||Michael Haneke||No|
|Cannes Film Festival (France)||Best Director||Michael Haneke||Yes|
|FIPRESCI Prize||Michael Haneke||Yes|
|Prize of the Ecumenical Jury||Michael Haneke||Yes|
|Golden Palm||Michael Haneke||No|
|César Awards (France)||Best Actor – Supporting Role||Maurice Bénichou||No|
|Best Director||Michael Haneke||No|
|Best Writing – Original||Michael Haneke||No|
|Most Promising Actor||Walid Afkir||No|
|Chicago Film Critics (US)||Best Foreign Language Film||Michael Haneke||Yes|
|David di Donatello Awards (Italy)||Best European Film||Michael Haneke||No|
|Empire Awards (UK)||Best Thriller||Michael Haneke||No|
|European Film Awards||Best Actor||Daniel Auteuil||Yes|
|Best Director||Michael Haneke||Yes|
|Best Editor||Michael Hudecek and Nadine Muse||Yes|
|Best Film||Michael Haneke||Yes|
|FIPRESCI Prize||Michael Haneke||Yes|
|Best Actress||Juliette Binoche||No|
|Best Cinematographer||Christian Berger||No|
|Best Screenwriter||Michael Haneke||No|
|Los Angeles Film Critics (US)||Best Foreign Language Film||Michael Haneke||Yes|
|Online Film Critics (US)||Best Foreign Language Film||Michael Haneke||No|
|San Francisco Film Critics (US)||Best Foreign Language Film||Michael Haneke||Yes|
|Southeastern Film Critics||Best Foreign Language Film||Michael Haneke||Yes|
- List of films featuring surveillance
- List of Austrian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of submissions to the 78th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
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- Caché tries to dig into what lies beneath, but comes up empty
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- Caché and Sophie Scholl Top European Film Awards
- Winners of the European Film Awards 2007
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- James, Caryn. "Five Oscar Nominees: Foreign, Not Alien". NY Times. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
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