Caché ★★★★★

If you listen to the podcast that I'm part of, Cinema Eclectica, you know for a fact that we have a strong opinion of contempt for Michael Haneke and his films. Graham and Rob truly hate him, I'm less on that scale as I'm perhaps the only one who can stomach him the best through his sheer dour and unpleasant craftsmanship and genuinely disturbing films. But that doesn't mean to say that I don't find him the least bit interesting, and to be honest, I hate Gaspar Noe and Bernardo Bertolucci even more because they rape both the cast members and the audience, both literally and figuratively. Haneke just does the latter. However, I always come back to defending one of his films as his true objectively good film, Hidden (a.k.a. Caché).

You know when a director you dislike teams up with an actor you absolutely adore? You don't know whether to make heads or tails out of it. Well in Hidden, not only do you have Daniel Auteuil, a person who is one of my all-time favourite actors. But for two for the price one, you also get Juliette Binoche, a person who is equally talented if not more than Auteuil. And to have these two in the exact same room together is pure fucked up magic. I buy them as a couple on the brink of their relationship crumbling, I buy their shock and horror into the sent videotapes of surveillance of their day-to-day lives, and I buy their true sense of "this is ridiculous" into why the police are not catching the culprit until he/she does something "harmful" to them.

I think what resonates with me more is the idea of surveillance really freaks me out. Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation is a comparison point and for the horror and thriller genre, it's a sticking point that really clicks when done well. And Haneke doesn't exploit surveillance for the sake of shock value, shots linger on with you thinking that it is an establishing shot of the Laurent's house when really it was the actual tape all along. That's what opens the film and he jumbles up the structure leaving you paranoid of what's to come, and when he strikes with violence, it feels evocative and powerful. And to do this when it doesn't have a score with a real slow-burn pace, it just proves that it can be done and I do think it is really smart. Amour is technically his other good film, but Hidden does click and still remains relevant to this day. You win this round, Haneke.