A Film In Images: Caché

Welcome to Images, a weekly feature here at Southern Vision where I look at a particular favourite film of mine that contains exceptional cinematography or visual images. I take screenshots from the film and post them together to make up a series of images that represent the photographical beauty of the movie. WarningSome of these images contain content that may spoil the film if you haven’t seen it already. This week’s film is:

Film: Caché (2005)

Director: Michael Haneke

Cinematographer: Christian Berger

Click on the images to see them larger:

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Posted on May 25, 2012, in Images, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. I have seen this film three times and still find something new to see every time even though in pace and action as with all his films it is a lot slower than most Hollywood style movies. Michael Haneke does like his static shots and long takes!

    For the best Hanneke visuals, I would have to plump for his later “The White Ribbon” even though shot in black and white. I still see many of those frames and images in my mind many months from last watching, which I always take as the best barometer of how visually successful a movie is!

    P.S. Based on an interview with Haneke it seems he did have original dialogue in the closing shot for “Hidden” you have included of the school playground steps, but did not include if for the final version of the film’s release? When I heard this story (after having seen the move two times) I actually felt he had short changed the audience in not leaving a clearer ending – am I alone in this?

    • I absolutely love Haneke’s long static takes. They are a lot of what makes his movies so great, and they are employed to fantastic use here with Cache.

      I agree The White Ribbon is very beautiful. It may well be featured in a future post of this series!

      I think the final scene is perfect, and that we shouldn’t hear what the characters are saying. It’s more mysterious and thought-provoking, which is something I love.

  2. Great photos. I really need to see more of Haneke’s films I think I will check this one out soon.

  3. Here is an image I know you will like: http://bit.ly/MBV8JD

  4. I’ve only seen three films by Haneke so far. This, La Pianiste, and The White Ribbon and I love them all. I think The White Ribbon is my favorite so far. This film was shocking to watch. Notably the final scene.

    • Those three films you’ve seen are great. Make sure you see Code Unknown (my favourite Haneke) as well as the three earlier films that make up his glaciation trilogy: The Seventh Continent, Benny’s Video and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance.

  5. I will do that. And I’ve been avoiding the American remake of Funny Games only because I want to see the original.

    • The original’s pretty good and the remake is disappointing. Either way, you’re better off waiting ’til you’ve seen more Haneke before touching either film. The fatal mistake most people make with Haneke is watching the Funny Games movies first, when they’re not used to him.

  6. Alex Withrow

    This film really is all about the image, which makes this post that much more relevant. Love this movie, love the stills you picked.

  7. Nice list of images. With Cache, there are so many to choose from, the cinematography is wonderfully engrossing. Very glad that this was the first (but regrettably only at this point) Haneke film that I’ve seen.

    • You definitely need to see more Haneke. Try and watch Code Unknown, The Piano Teacher and The White Ribbon. If you liked Cache, there’s a high chance you’ll like those.

      • I have The White Ribbon on DVD actually, so I may watch it next week. I know there’s a box that includes The Piano Teacher, Cache and a couple of others, it may be a worthy investment.

  8. Many modern-day cinephiles sometimes don’t realize how much cinema needs someone like Haneke or Kieslowski. I know Kieslowski’s dead, but his films still exist. Many “high-brow” cinephiles, but not all, tend to have mixed feelings about these two, in part I think because they’re accessible enough that a non-cinephile can handle their films with a little bit of patience. I saw someone once dismiss Haneke by labeling him the Spielberg of art-house filmmakers. But that’s exactly why cinema needs people like these two men, and why cinephiles should actively embrace their films while also embracing more challenging but still great filmmakers like Bela Tarr, Bresson, or Tarkovsky. This may take a while to clarify, so bear with me. The issue is when somebody, a non-cinephile, watches a film like A Clockwork Orange or The Godfather, both very good films, they still conceive of it as entertainment on a subconscious level. No, I’m not saying The Godfather or A Clockwork Orange is shallow entertainment on the level of Transformers or Die Another Day. It takes a perceptive film viewer, however, to locate the artistry in good films that easily appeal to a mass audience, such as The Godfather, I think. Okay, maybe I’m overthinking this, but my point is the average film viewer doesn’t feel special or ‘cultured’ for liking The Godfather, even if it is in fact a film, the way someone would feel as such after finding an appreciation for Mozart’s music. But an average but curious film viewer most certainly perceives films like Cache or Three Colors: Blue as high culture, and after finding an appreciation for such films it suddenly dawns upon them that film is much more than entertainment, since when watching a film like Blue they know on an intuitive level they’re watching something that’s much more than entertainment. When watching a film like Goodfellas on the other hand, even if it’s a film with artistic merit the ‘high’ artistic aspects of the film may go over their head and/or or not even occur to them, since they’re so distracted by the work’s entertaining qualities, but a film like Cache doesn’t have the same level of entertainment to distract them, even if it is a very accessible film. It’s simply much more obvious to them that what they’re watching is ‘high’ art when they view something like Cache, Three Colors: Red, or Wild Strawberries (Bergman has also gone out of style to some extent within the cinephile community).

    To return to my point about cinema needing someone like Haneke, in order for cinema to actually be accepted as an art form by society in the way that poetry, painting, or classical music is the ‘connoisseurs’ need to actively embrace obviously “high brow” artists that ‘unitiated’ people can digest relatively easily. Like I said, it takes a perceptive viewer to see the artistry in more ‘entertaining’ films like Psycho or The Godfather and someone like Bela Tarr is simply too intimidating for non-cinephiles. This may all sound like manipulation, but let’s face it. You’re not going to accomodate and win over too many aspiring art-explorers if you make them feel they need to read to Proust or listen to Debussy, in order to feel satisfied that they’re consuming serious, intellectually significant works of art. You have to encourage people to ease into the process while confirming, even honestly, that the “artists for beginners”, or gateway artists if you want to call them that, are still serious, intellectually respectable artists. So just as Chopin isn’t inferior to Debussy, or just as Maupassant isn’t necessarily inferior to Proust, Haneke or Kieslowski shouldn’t be considered inferior to Tarr or whichever other filmmaker one could mention to complete my example.

    My point being that in intellectual circles the more accessible “high-brow” painters, composers, or writers aren’t neglected, in order to elevate the more challenging ones. Okay, maybe they are at times, but much less so than are the more accessible ‘serious’ filmmakers. All I’m saying is if people want film to be accepted as a serious art-form by society you (no, not you specifically Tyler. I’m not targeting you at all. I’m just sharing my sentiments) could start by actively embracing a ‘beginner’s’ appreciation for the more accessible ‘serious’ filmmakers instead of patronizing them, because they haven’t yet developed an appreciation for Bela Tarr or Andrei Rublev. Maybe my impression of cinephile sentiments is off-base, but this is just how i feel. It may seem manipulative, but there’s a necessity for ‘serious’ filmmakers who are both brilliant and can transcend the cinephile community, because their approach just happens to be somewhat more accessible. Otherwise, the public will feel way too alienated to consider respecting cinema as an art-form. Bringing down Bergman, Haneke, Truffaut, and Kieslowski, in order to elevate Bela Tarr, Weerasethakul, or Miklos Jancso (sorry for the pedantry) is only going to make the situation worse. Also, I could be wrong about someone not being able to perceive the artistry in Goodfellas or Psycho, but I’m just commenting on a trend I’ve noticed in modern cinephile circles that I feel is killing cinema’s chances of being seriously embraced by society as a legitimate art form the way painting or poetry is. By the way, I whole-heartedly respect Bela Tarr, so that wasn’t a criticism of his work itself, but simply of the reasons for which many people choose to embrace it.

    • That is a hell of a comment, Remy, and I must say I love what you’ve written. It’s enough for an entire blog post. I understand what you mean and I agree completely. Entertainment should not be the sole factor in deciding whether one likes a movie… a whole range of other things come into it, chiefly effect. A film needs to be effective, in a positive way, for me to value it.

      And yes, viewers should be eased into the work of more complex filmmakers. That’s how I did it. There’s no point throwing them a movie like Satantango or Jeanne Dielman and telling them that if they don’t enjoy it they don’t value arthouse cinema. That’s simply not true. One needs to be patient with directors like Tarr in order to appreciate them, and not simply dive into the deep end and expect to love whatever they find.

      It’s difficult recommending films and filmmakers because it’s impossible to be able to gauge what someone’s reaction will be. All filmmakers need to be given patience and consideration by everyone who views their movies.

  9. P.S. Including that image of the suicide in this post is a bit of a spoiler, no? 😉

    • I gave a spoiler warning at the beginning of the post.

      • Ah, I must have missed that. I rushed straight to the pictures. In any case, I just wanted to point out the accuracy of Haneke’s general portrayal of contemporary Europe throughout his work. I don’t think there’s any need to elaborate on it in detail at the moment, or at least I can’t find the words right now to provide a more thorough explanation, but I do find his portrayals of modern Europe to be very accurate and sensible, although I don’t particular care for Funny Games, as I found it a bit too cynical for my taste. Other filmmakers have tried to portray modern Europe, but their efforts are also way too cynical. One such example would be Summer Hours from Olivier Assayas, which is perhaps the most cynical cultural item to have ever emanated from ‘La Republique’. If you haven’t seen it watch it, and you’ll know what I mean. Some people blame Haneke for being cynical, but I disagree. He simply has a realistic sense of Western society’s ills, and he comments on them accordingly. Summer Hours is downright alarmist, and obnoxiously so.

        • I haven’t seen Summer Hours. Funny Games is admittedly one of my least favourite Haneke films but I still really like it. Code Unknown is my favourite Haneke film and I think its social message is truly profound and moving.

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