Cache is about an affluent french family living the ostensibly good life behind the safety of their gated enclave. Georges Laurent (Daniel Auteuil) is the patriarch of the family and a successful TV presenter for a literary program. Anne Laurent (Juliette Binoche) is Georges wife, a book publisher and mother to Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky), their adolescent son who is a promising swimmer. All in all the Laurent's are a fairly typical bourgeois family. They're secluded, well-off and happy and content. That is until they start getting recordings of their house, hours and hours of stationary footage. It's peculiar and odd at first, thinking that it might just be a prank, they dismiss it. However more tapes begin to arrive and they get more and more personal, recording the childhood home of Georges, and other people start receiving tapes as well, plus all the tapes start coming with macabre drawings attached to them. What started out as a joke in poor taste becomes an increasingly unsettling situation with the police unable or unwilling to do anything.
Georges begins to suspect that it's a metaphorical ghost from his past, but the reality is a man named Majid (Maurice Benichou). Once a boy whose parents used to work for the Laurent family until they died in the 'massacre of 1961'. Finding himself an orphan, the Laurent's were going to adopt Majid, but a young Georges put an end to that in a less than honorable manner. So Georges thinks that it's his past that's come back to haunt him, however the mystery of the tapes are not so easily unraveled.
I immediately noticed the engrossing nature of Cache, in part because of its highly unorthodox opening that makes us feel like voyeurs, but mostly because of how the momentum is built slowly, but consistently. The directing is totally self-assured and confident from Michael Haneke. The long takes were amazingly well done. I can't stress how refreshing it is for me to watch a movie where a scene can go longer than a minute without an edit, or multiple edits. The editing was smooth and flowed to perfection, I relished it. The acting was superb, especially from Juliette Binoche, never going into full on 'hysteria mode', but reacting more honestly than most others would in the same situation.
I was under the impression that Cache was going to be more of a psychological horror, but I'm telling you right now, that's not what Cache is about. So if that's what you're after, look elsewhere because this movie will probably frustrate the hell out of you. Spoilers: I think there's either two ways you can look at Cache, literally or figuratively. If you want to look at Cache literally then I think Pierrot and Majid's son (Walid Afkir) both collaborated to torment the couple. Pierrot because he seemed to suspect that Anne was having an affair, and Majid's son because of what Georges had done to his father all those years ago. Pierrot had access and information on his parents, as did Majid's son, providing that Majid had told his son what had happened. The two boys are also seen talking at the end, so they seem to know each other.
The more figurative way to look at Cache would be that the sender of the tapes is inconsequential, they're an allegory for how France (Georges) has dealt with the Algerians (Majid) in the past. Both men, and their actions are representative of a more political background. France refused to accept their role in the 'massacre of 1961' during the Algerian war and tried to keep it "Hidden". This was partly in the movie as Majid's parents had also died in the 'massacre of 1961'. The tapes are meant to awaken France (Georges) memory of the event, memories that France (Georges) had tried hard to forget. Algerians (Majid) are trying to get France (Georges) to take responsibility, a responsibility that he constantly shirks away from angrily. No matter which way I look at it, which interpretation, it felt disappointing to me, especially with the massively ambiguous ending of it all. There's no closure, none at all. Maybe my disappointment of it comes back to my expectations of it, which it was living up to for the better part of the movie, or maybe it just come undone towards the end. Definitely a movie for analysis though.
Written by - The Sentry - 26/04/2016