Caché : Haneke’s burden of secrets
by Fabien Lemercier
21/05/2005 - For the first time in his long Cannes career, the Austrian director Michael Haneke didn’t illicit extreme reactions to his screening this morning in the Official Competition of his film Hidden [trailer, film focus] with its duo of French stars: Daniel Auteuil - Juliette Binoche. Well received by the press, without going overboard, the filmmaker's 9th feature gave food for thought to the critics thanks to a skilful screenplay which keeps the viewer uncertain about the nature of the characters and the conclusion of the narrative right to the very end.
Resting entirely on the shoulders of an impeccable Daniel Auteuil, Hidden deals with guilt on two levels, that of an individual threatened forty years after a childhood jealousy which distance his adopted brother from the family and secondly that of a French society confronted with a return to the surface of the events of 1961 when more than 200 men and women from North Africa were killed, drowned in the Seine by the police on the order of notorious Maurice Papon. As this rejection of foreignness returns to haunt the literary journalist Georges, using fear as its weapon by putting him under video surveillance, Michael Haneke transforms the piece into an almost police-like inquiry mixed with a psychological family drama where the unsaid things rule. Filmed with a very fluid tempo yet taking its time, with no wide angle and frames that allow great liberty of movement to the actors (no reverse shots), Hidden presents itself as a work of many doors, that open to many possible interpretations of the exact nature of the secrets that will lead to suicide (the only moment of sudden violence in the film) expressly executed in front of Georges’ eyes to achieve maximum guilt. The heavy secrets of the past invade the present and contaminate future generations who are not duped by the lies of the elders.
Hidden, the fourth feature of Michael Haneke in competition at Cannes, had a budget of 8,5 million euros, including a co-production with Arte for 500 000 euros, 350 000 euros Advance on Receipts from the French CNC, 500 000 euros from France 3 Cinéma, 600 000 euros from Eurimages, and over 320 000 euros from the Media Programme of the EU. Produced by four European countries, it was started up the French Films du Losange (41 %) with the Austrian Wega Film (39 %), the Germans at Bavaria Film (10 %) and the Italian BIM Distribuzione (10 %). Distributor in France, les Films du Losange also hold international rights.
(Translated from French)