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Essman, E. (2007). Caché directed by Michael Haneke Les Films du Losange, 2005, 117 min.. Fort Da, 13(2):102-106.

(2007). Fort Da, 13(2):102-106

Caché directed by Michael Haneke Les Films du Losange, 2005, 117 min.

Reviewed by
Eric Essman, M.A.

Strangely, the foreigner lives within us: he is the hidden face of our identity, the space that wrecks our abode….

Julia Kristeva, 1991, Strangers to Ourselves

[B]ut the recurring nightmares are no longer of the things that will happen to me … but the things that happen in me.

Andrew Solomon, 2001, The Noonday Demon

A staple theme of American movie melodrama is the vulnerability of the nuclear family to destabilization by forces from without or within. In Cape Fear (dir. J.L. Thompson, 1962; remake dir. M. Scorsese, 1991) and A History of Violence (dir. D. Cronenberg, 2005), the threat mimics the return of the repressed or psychotic decompensation: a husband/father's peaceful but bland demeanor is menaced by strangers or former acquaintances incarnating a suppressed or forgotten link to a violent past. Contemporary French cinema, aiming transpersonally, presents the family at the interface of historical changes, registering the near-traumatic challenge of immigrant subcultures resistant to assimilation. But what frames of reference delimit the scope of national or personal identity? Like the image with which Caché begins, what appears to be non-psychological may often both determine a physical location and mark a subjective point of view.

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