Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Who can it be knocking at my door?

Is it possible to enjoy a movie while disagreeing with it? Yes. I watched Cache, a movie by social critic Michael Haneke last night and found it fascinating, if philosophically incorrect. The film concerns a French family that learns it is being watched. They know this because someone is leaving videotapes of their movements. With the tapes come strange drawings. Thanks to the drawings, the father thinks he knows who is behind it.

The name of the movie means Hidden in French, and the father wants to hide his relationship with the perceived perpetrator. Other family members have their own concerns to hide and all of these tear at their relationship. What I most liked about the movie is that Haneke leaves so much open and unanswered, letting the audience decide what happens in a few spots. Pay close attention at the end (having a largish TV will help) for a final revelation.

I said I disagreed with the movie. On a philosophical level we are supposed to believe that the father is wrong and at some level should be punished. I am not so sure that is valid. The film is ultimately political although you don't have to believe his politics to enjoy the movie. A most interesting and complete critique of the film's politics can be found on the World Socialist Web Site (Beware: serious spoilers, do not click if you haven't seen the film). I disagree on a principle level with many (if not all) of the WSWS reviews, but I always find them interesting. The reviewers are so analytical as well as true to their beliefs. Since the movie is political their style of review is appropriate. And they elucidate many of my concerns with the movie. I can't go deeply into them as it will reveal too much. But read that review after you see the movie.

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