At the outset of a press conference following a screening of Caché Michael Haneke requested: “Please don’t ask who sent the tapes.” the tapes, sent anonymously to self-described “bobos” Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche (Volvo-veneered, but increasingly fissured), are hours of surveillance-style footage of their Paris home. Additionally, Haneke establishes scenes with the same static medium long shot — half the suspense is wondering who sent the tapes, the other half figuring out whether or not we’re watching one.
But Caché isn’t bourgeois-baiting à la Haneke’s smug Funny Games; Haneke himself professes not to know the solution, and this core unease seeps outward. the increasingly personal menace of the crude drawings accompanying the tapes suggests a link to a repressed episode from Auteuil’s childhood, one that parallels France’s suddenly searingly relevant history of sublimated racial tension. Between Haneke’s deliberate ambiguity and a bingo! moment when Auteuil accuses an Arab character baselessly? Of “terrorizing” him, the political subtext is caché’s most clearly delineated element. But even its climax at the act two curtain — in a shockingly abrupt act of violence and stunned, unanimous gasps from the audience — leads into deeper uncertainty.
Opens Dec 23