Secrets and revelations: Off-screen space in Michael Haneke's Caché (2005)

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Critical and theoretical accounts of cinematic space to date have habitually privileged the visible spaces on the screen over the invisible spaces which lie beyond them. Nevertheless, a handful of film theorists, including André Bazin, Noël Burch, Pascal Bonitzer and Gilles Deleuze, have recognized the defining importance of these hidden spaces and attempted to analyse their dimensions, properties and potentialities. This article seeks to advance their projects through a reading of Michael Haneke's Caché/Hidden (2005), a film which re-maps off-screen space in ways that disturb and implicate its viewers. Caché is preoccupied, literally and metaphorically, with troubled, distorted or blinkered vision – with the mechanisms of secrecy, amnesia and denial that prevent us from taking responsibility for the past and facing the present clear-sightedly. The article argues that Haneke's images produce meaning as much through what they conceal as through what they reveal, thereby exposing some of the blind spots that structure history, memory and spectatorship.

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