Caché - Hidden (2005) dir. Michael Haneke
Hidden plays two of my favorite tricks. The opening shot is a very long, well-composed framing of an apartment building from an alleyway. After a couple minutes, VCR lines appear on screen. We're watching a video, not real life.
The tape is the first of several sent to Georges and Anne. The plot is set up as a thriller mystery. Who is behind this harassment? Is Georges's dark childhood secret perhaps a clue? Or is it just another red herring?
Several times we're unsure if we're watching a recording or a recording within a recording. More than one viewer has concluded that Haneke himself sent the tapes. It's unclear if he meant to be so literally meta.
"For what it's worth, when I saw Haneke interviewed onstage at London's BFI last month, the interviewer cried in mock exasperation, "Having seen Caché several times, and having carefully studied the camera placement in the footage that's sent to the couple, I've come to the conclusion that you, Haneke, are the one who sent the tapes, because it is physically impossible for them to have been sent by any of the actual characters!" Haneke replied, "No, they were sent by a character," with a sly little smile that (I thought) implied that camera placement was indeed a clue." - hot soup girl on MetaFilter
Recordings of the nightly news tell of another suppressed guilt. Georges's hidden shame is tied to the Paris Massacre of 1961. Perhaps a broader political theme is meant. This was released in 2005, back when the Iraq War was still a major issue.
Then, of course, is the final shot. I'm a sucker for unsolved mysteries. Like Blow Up, Inception and others, Hidden teases at a solution, and just when you think the revelation is about to happen, the film ends.
(I've also noticed that no one seems to suspect the wife. She never has an alibi, and could easily have heard her husband muttering in his sleep and wants to dispel attention over the secret her son has discovered.)
Hidden is #801 on the Top 1000 Films list I’m working on. I’ve now seen 392.