31 October 2002 | donalohanlon
Conscience and Consequence
As per my review on Amazon.co.uk
Haneke's masterful look at a modern European city examines
exactly what it is like to 'exist' in western society. The multilayered
story has many protagonists and follows their lives after they are
linked by a single event. Anne (Binoche) is an actress, her
boyfriend Georges is a war photographer, his brother Jean has
run away from home, their father struggles to manage his farm
and keep his emotions supressed. Amidou is a first generation
african imigrant, who teaches deaf children music, his father is a
taxi driver. Maria, from Romania, has been deported from France
for begging but must make the humiliating journey back to provide
for her family.
The film is complex, yet simple. It essentially asks wheather we
can ever really communicate, wheather we are ever aware of the
significance of our actions and most devastatingly wheather we
have a duty to help even if we are not asked for help. Do we have a
Haneke's film is a technical tour-de-force, with perfectly sublime
performances. Binoche has not been better since her days with
Kieslowski. Her performance as the dispossessed actress is raw
and real. The final scenes devastating in their effectiveness and
To answer/comment on other reviews here - The drumming is symbolic - obviously of the beat of a city and of
course of a heartbeat, but also the (interesting) idea of deaf people
giving sound to other people, they are generously giving pleasure
they will not experience. The music is also one of the many
languages of the film.
The use of a fragmented narrative and loose "story" is a way of
showing the fluid nature of all our lives - reality is never neat like a
conventional film scenario.
This is a film that is hard to decipher. It will take numerous
viewings, but is certainly worth it. Do yourself a favour and stick
with it. Supreme!