"There's suspicion, nothing more" - Suspicious readings of Michael Haneke's Caché (Hidden, 2005).

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Abstract

[Extract] Michael Haneke’s film Caché tells the story of a bourgeois family in peril. The comfortable lives of the Laurents—husband Georges (Daniel Auteuil), wife Anne (Juliette Binoche), and teenage son Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky)—are disrupted when surveillance tapes of their home and private conversations are delivered to them anonymously. Ostensibly Caché sits in a familiar generic framework: the thriller narrative of a family under threat is reminiscent of films such as The Desperate Hours (1955), Cape Fear (1962), and Straw Dogs (1971). The weight of outside forces causes tension within the family dynamic and Georges spends much of the film playing detective (unravelling clues from the tapes and from his past). This framing draws us in; it is presumed that the mystery of the family’s harassment will finally be solved, and yet Haneke’s treatment of this material undermines viewer expectations. This paper examines the process of suspicious reading when applied to a film that encourages such a method, only to thwart the viewer’s attempts to come to a definitive meaning. I argue that Caché plays with generic expectations in order to critique the interpretive process, and consider what implications this has for suspicious readers
Original languageEnglish
JournalM/C Journal
Volume15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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