This just in...

It might be a new museum exhibition, or something at the opera, symphony, or ballet, or it might be something I've (we've) seen on the street. Whatever it is, it's a quick review and impression of what's captured my thoughts for the moment.
 

 

 Caché, Embarcadero, San Francisco

 
Some months ago I went to see "Closer", an amazing film in which each of the characters evolves into a less than savory aspect of what they once were. They become despicable, all foibles shown and underscored. This was unusual to me - there always seems to be some admirable quality, or a hero or heroine that carries the day.
 
In "Caché", we meet a similar situation. Daniel Auteuil plays a bookish television intellectual. He is married to an equally bright and persuasive woman played by Juliette Binoche. There is a son, awkward at the age of 13 or so. They live in the outer edges of Paris in an attractive home where they entertain attractive and intellectual friends. So what is caché (hidden)?
 
The conceit of the film is that the family's residence is being filmed on videotape by an unknown person or persons. And so begins a series of "uncoverings". Some are exposed by dreams, others by memory and assumption. Like "Closer" we begin to see, in a major way, the hidden foibles of the main characters. They are not what they seem - or perhaps, they are not what we hoped or wanted them to be. The over-arching moral question is whether or not they are permanently scarred by their deceptions. Is the film and exposure of mortal flaws, or merely an uncovering of a moment in time - something that would catch us all. Who, of any of us, could survive such an exposure.
 
In one aspect, the film is quite timely in that it deals with the discriminations of the French against the "new French". Algerians, blacks, and others come under the fire of these people who see their way of life and of thinking rapidly changing - or being observed. With the relatively recent riots in Paris, these uncoverings become pertinent and engaging.
 
You won't leave this film in a happy frame of mind, but you will leave personally engaged in the questions of appropriateness, prejudice, cruelty and abandonment, and humanity.
 

Archive of Previous Reviews

 
 
MTH 3/9/06
 
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