Michael Haneke’s film Caché (Hidden) (2005) explores the psychological and social effects of the intrusion of the immigrant Other into privileged Western capitalist society. Caché allegorises the intrusion of the immigrant Other through a series of intrusive and threatening non-diegetic surveillance tapes delivered to a wealthy Parisian family’s home, the subject of the surveillance. These tape recordings radically destabilise the Laurent family’s safe and privileged bourgeois domesticity inducing anxiety and fear. Haneke’s film undertakes a significant critique of the increasing right-wing anti-immigrant sentiment driving neo-liberal politics and ideology in the capitalist West. Here, Caché confronts the viewer with their complicity in the disavowal and subjugation of the immigrant Other within their own social edifice. Three key aspects of Caché will be explored; the effects of the intrusive surveillance tapes, the exclusion of the immigrant Other, and the surveillance gaze. These key aspects are analysed through the theoretical work of Slavoj Žižek and guided by Žižek’s Lacanian reading of the Freudian / Hegelian negation of the negation. Specifically, this Žižekian approach will undertake a dialectical analysis of cinematic form and a critique of racist ideology, of which, will elucidate the possibility for the emergence of emancipatory subjectivities. The significance of Caché is the film’s potential to facilitate the viewers’ confrontation with the disavowed and repressed truth of the social edifice. This confrontation enables the viewer to assume an emancipatory subjectivity which extends beyond Caché’s cinematic frame into the viewers’ own social edifice. I argue that Haneke’s film has the potential to radically alter the way viewers relate to the diegetic reality and, through the figuration of cinema, to their own social edifice. Ultimately, Caché brings to the fore the disavowed truth of both capitalist society and of privileged subjectivities, demanding a new politics based on the excluded immigrant Other.
Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Literature, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2014.