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27. Caché
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he quiet life of a French family is disturbed when they start to receive surveillance tapes of their own residence from an anonymous source. Georges Laurent (Daniel Auteuil) is the successful host of a French literary TV programme, living with his wife Anne (Juliette Binoche), a book publisher, and their school-age son Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky). Mysterious videocassettes start arriving 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' early life that disrupt both his work and marriage.

Because the tapes do not contain an open threat, the police refuse to help Georges and Anne. One videotape leads Georges to the modest HLM apartment of an Algerian man named Majid (Maurice Bénichou), whose parents worked for Georges' family when they were young. When his parents were killed in the Paris massacre of 1961, Majid remained with Georges and his parents, who intended to adopt Majid into their family. Georges confronts Majid about the tapes, but he denies involvement. Throughout the film, Georges has guilty flashbacks and nightmares depicting a young Majid spitting blood, cutting off a rooster's head, and menacing him. Anne suspects there is more to know about Georges' relationship with Majid.

One day Pierrot does not come home from school and Anne cannot locate him. 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's son (Walid Afkir), and father and son both deny knowledge of the kidnapping. The police arrest them but they are released the next morning. On the same morning, Pierrot returns. He had spent the night at a friend's house without telling anyone. When Anne scolds Pierrot, he accuses her of committing adultery. In an earlier scene, we saw a distressed Anne permitting a few romantic caresses from Pierre, a family friend.

Georges returns to Majid's apartment at his invitation, and, after stating that he had nothing to do with the surveillance, Majid says he wanted Georges to be present for what follows: he kills himself by slashing his own throat. When Georges returns home, Anne insists he tell her what he did to Majid so many years ago. When he was six years old, he says, he told his parents that Majid spat blood, but they did not believe him. He then tricked Majid into cutting off the head of a rooster, and told his parents that Majid did this to scare him. This prompted his parents to send Majid to an orphanage.

After Majid's suicide, his son confronts Georges. He denies involvement with the tapes, while Georges denies responsibility for his father's unhappiness and death. Majid's son says he only wanted to know how Georges felt about being the cause of his father's death, and Georges angrily leaves. Georges goes home, takes two sleeping pills, and goes to bed.

The scene returns to Georges' childhood home. A vintage model car arrives and the occupants enter the house, returning momentarily with a boy (Majid?) who protests, resists getting in the car. He runs and must be caught by the man, physically overcome, and forced into the back seat with the woman. The man drives the car away.

In a postscript 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.

Filming took place in Paris and Vienna. It is the first film in which Haneke used high-definition video cameras. It has no film score.

Caché premiered at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. The film won numerous awards during its successful run at the festival, including the prize for Best Director, and the FIPRESCI prize. Caché also won 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 (Daniel Auteuil), and Best European Editor.

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 at the 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".

Andrew Sarris from the New York Observer stated, "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," and 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 was listed 1st in The Times 'best 100 films of the decade' feature 44th in the Daily Telegraph's equivalent list, and 36th in The Guardian's.

Directed by Michael Haneke
Produced by Veit Heiduschka
Written by Michael Haneke
Starring Juliette Binoche
Daniel Auteuil
Maurice Bénichou
Cinematography Christian Berger
Editing by Michael Hudecek
Nadine Muse
Distributed by Artificial Eye
Sony Pictures Classics
Release date(s) October 5 2005
Running time 117 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget €8,000,000 (estimated)

Daniel Auteuil as Georges Laurent
Juliette Binoche as Anne Laurent
Lester Makedonsky as Pierrot Laurent, Georges and Anne's 12 year old son
Maurice Bénichou as Majid
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

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