Saturday, January 07, 2006

Head is happy (heart's insane)

I think Dizzyhead Brent is trying to tell me something—he keeps sending along these images of celestio-cephalic comic-book characters. Where do they come from? It reminds me to start up this project, now that I finally have a scanner. I'll try to figure out how to use it this weekend.

In my ongoing project to expand/alter my "top 10 films of '05" list, I went to see Michael Haneke's Caché last night—highly recommended. Eerie, subtle, scary—I did, in fact, scream, "Oh my God!" at one point. I need to see it again, to pore over the last scene. Mike Atkinson's Voice review suggests something definite and sinister is transpiring, whereas David Ng's interview with MH, also in the Voice, makes it sound like the director wants people to read things into it. (What a year for strong last scenes—Funny Ha Ha, The Squid and the Whale. Caché's penultimate scene reminded me very much of the last scene in The Passenger—did anyone else get that feeling?)

As we slowly left the theater, someone in my row asked what I thought had happened; he had spoken to the person behind us, who had a very definite reading of it; another guy added his two cents. I can't think of the last time a film was so strangely exciting that it provoked spontaneous postmortem banter. (Though as I left the White Countess screening, I talked to a young film writer—an NYU student?—at the elevator, about how supremely boring it was.)

Here's the last bit of David's piece:

Haneke's obsessions converge in Caché's final scene, a chilling long take that's the most enigmatic conclusion in recent movie memory. "Using a fixed shot means there's one less form of manipulation�the manipulation of time," Haneke says. "I've always wanted to create the freedom one has when reading a book, where one has all the possibilities because you create all the images in your head." Resolutely cryptic, he refuses to decode the scene's meaning: "About half the viewers see something and the other half don't, and it works both ways." He adds, invoking his protagonist's own mental journey, "We always fill the screen with our own experiences. Ultimately, what we see comes from inside us."

Stray thoughts:

Maybe, then, I shouldn't see it again—the first reading is the most important.

A certain plot point has a vague resemblance to one in Match Point, but Caché is far superior.

Also watch for the froggy-voiced actress from Haneke's The Piano Teacher, playing the lead character's mother.

I preferred this to A History of Violence.


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