Monday, January 30, 2006

the language of film is apparently not universal...

I’d never even heard of the new French film, Cache before, so when Chris said he was going to a late showing last night, I didn’t agree to tag along until I’d read about it online. Here’s what I found:

“Georges, who hosts a TV literary review, receives packages containing videos of himself with his family -- shot secretly from the street -- and alarming drawings whose meaning is obscure. He has no idea who may be sending them. Gradually, the footage on the tapes becomes more personal, suggesting that the sender has known Georges for some time. Georges feels a sense of menace hanging over him and his family but, as no direct threat has been made, the police refuse to help.”

I called Chris back. “This looks awesome. I’m in.”
We headed over to the Clay on Fillmore and wandered into the theater. Within five minutes, I was hooked. It’s shot beautifully, it’s got a very stylized, Euro look to it, and you’re sucked into this great mystery immediately. Parts are funny, parts are terrifying and the whole time, you’re trying to figure out who’s sending these goddamn videos.
It’s clever, not just in the story but in how it’s told. And it becomes clear that you have to pay close attention, that every detail might be subtle clue.
After a while, it starts to drag, but I sat there waiting for the big payoff. Is it the orphan? The orphan’s son? Georges’ son? The wrist-kissing friend?
Come on, Frenchies. It’s midnight. I’m falling asleep.

~SPOILER ALERT (kind of)~

The credits roll. That’s it. Chris and I looked at each other.
“What the fuck?”
“Who sent the tapes?”
“I have no idea.”
We walked into the lobby scratching our heads and I headed to the ladies. Needless to say, I found a frenzy of bathroom discussion. “So who sent the tapes?”
“I can’t figure it out.”
“I read, in lots of places actually, that you’re supposed to look in the lower left hand corner during the final shots. The answer is somewhere in the lower left hand corner.”
“And I didn’t see it.”
We went home and searched online, desperate for some internet nerd to gleefully give away the secret. All we could find was intense discussion and theorizing, with lots of mention of the lower left hand corner but nothing definitive.
Apparently, half the people who see it get it, and half don’t. I can’t decide if there’s really one solid answer, or if it’s some big, European, existential, no-one-will-ever-really-know kind of thing.
Well, let me just say for the record. I’m American. I named my blog after Usual Suspects. I like my big surprise endings. I need closure.
And of course, if anyone wants to go, I’ll be heading back to Cache. You can find me in the front row with both eyes glued to that goddamn lower left hand corner…


sfmike said...

Sounds like a perfect DVD experience where you can Freeze The Frame for those existential left-hand corner moments.

Becky said...

I saw this last night too but had no idea I was supposed to look in the left hand corner for the answer. Although now that you mention it - during that last shot in the left hand corner of the screen I saw what I believe was Georges' son and the orphan's son having a little confab. Maybe they were in on it together?

Spots said...

That's the buzz. But for $9.75, tell me who made the damn video. Also, was Anne cheating? And is it just me, or was Georges kinda hot? Short, but euro-fine...

Becky said...

My take was Pierrot thought his mom was cheating (I don't, although I do think they were lovers at some point), which makes me think he got a video of the cafe scene. He did get one of the postcards, so it would make sense that he also got a video. And it would explain his staying with his friend and not calling home. I'm still puzzling this all out... maybe the orphan's son was trying to turn Anne and Pierrot against Georges? Or expose him to them, I should say, to fit the theme. Although it was Anne in the cafe, not Georges. I do think the orphan's son was videotaping - mostly because the orphan's breakdown after Georges' visit seemd real. But then again... Oh, I don't know.

I'm still amazed Georges had a hit TV show about books. I guess the closest the US can come to that is Stacked.

Spots said...

I know! I was like, Those French with their popular TV shows about literature. And didn't you love their living room. Books and books and books...

Becky said...

Oh my god, it was total apartment porn. See also: Shallow Grave.

Spots said...

Shallow Grave.
Now there is a good ending.

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