Are you being watched?

In the Austrian director Michael Haneke’s Caché (available on DVD and for download on Amazon Unbox), a Parisian TV talk show host named Georges (Daniel Auteuil) and his wife Anne (Juliette Binoche) start receiving anonymous packages containing surveillance videotapes — first, simple exterior shots of their home, then more intimate tableaux.

When the tapes begin connecting to Georges’s questionable past, and a series of disturbing, childish drawings start showing up (is their 12-year-old son in danger?), the intrigue morphs into icy, Hitchcockian terror.

In the current technological climate it is just plausible enough to be completely unsettling.

There is perhaps no filmmaker working today who can make viewers squirm as economically as Haneke. He’s a psychological puppet master so intent on subverting cinematic conventions that he cunningly engineers emotional and narrative blind spots — holes that some viewers (like the Cannes cabal that gave Haneke best director honors for this film) find thrilling, and others (even some members of the VSL cabal) find exasperating.

Is Haneke just taunting us? Or are we just letting him taunt us? You decide.

“>WATCH the trailer for Caché

“>BUY Caché, 2005; French with English subtitles; 117 minutes

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Are you being watched?