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30 January, 2007

Critical viewing

In an opinion piece, Michael White, the Guardian's (ex?)political editor (not a professional film critic, but then again, nor am I), seems to celebrate the claim that French 'art house' films are declining in popularity with French cinema audiences.  He makes especial reference to the deliberately static 'Caché' ('Hidden'), saying that he failed to spot the significant elements in the closing minutes (how?):

I had been warned there were a few crucial plot frames in the last minute of the film, so I looked out for them - but missed them. No one has satisfactorily explained to me since what exactly they were trying to say.
Maybe that was the point.

None of the reviews I read make anything much of this, except to say that the director throws these questions back at the viewer. Thanks chaps, but I paid £6.50 for him to do the work.

Noooo! You total, ****ing idiotic philistine!
If you want to be spoon-fed, stick to 'Jurassic Park', and perhaps buy a copy of the study notes beforehand. Take a colleague, to explain any big words you might encounter.

It is not the director's 'job' to explain everything, and to gently ease a pampered audience out of the cinema vacuously entertained but unchallenged. Each viewer should leave the cinema thinking, perhaps even frustrated, occasionally.
A good film isn't a manufactured pop song, mildly diverting for a while but merely inspiring the thought 'that was fun; what's next?'. It should stay in the mind, at least for tens of minutes. It might sound pretentious, but the very best (and I wouldn't really say 'Caché' qualifies) can change people.


Cache was great. Perhaps 4 stars more than 5, but still really good. I saw teh ending as quite ambiguous and I liked that. I don't like to be led by the hand through things. I even enjoy sometimes making assumptions about films which others find ludicrous, but that's a good thing and a testament to the ambiguity in all really good works of art.

Posted by looby at February 3, 2007 03:28 AM
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