Tuesday, January 26, 2010


*Michael Haneke*117m*French*2005*

1. At 48.38 Majid makes a reference to George’s nose, implying some injury to the nose, possibly inflicted by Majid. Could the coughing boy around the “smoking gun” have been George? Soon after he says “you are a lot bigger, should not be hard to kick me. George further says as a child Majid was bigger and stronger, so he had no choice.
2. Even if Wajid is not the source of the tapes, after seeing the drawing, he would know whether Walid is the culprit. In any case, once he knows what has been going on, he is in the best position to reason things out.
3. Pierrot, even if he already knows Walid and the childhood incidents, could not have done it solo.
4. We rule out Majid, because he looks and acts innocent, and it would be directorial folly to implicate him. Pierrot does hate his parents enough to disappear and cause them great anguish, so he may readily agree to be an accomplice to Walid. Walid of course has a powerful motivation to seek vengeance for his father’s fate. (When Walid finally confronts George, he just wants to see him, as if to enjoy the fruits of his psychological torture.) If Majid is to be ruled out the possibilities are (a) Walid alone (b) Walid plus Pierrot. They would need to be very perceptive, almost superhuman, to understand the traumatic memories buried inside a thick skinned guy like Georges or to scheme out such a devious procedure or anticipate it’s likely effects. Anne’s verdict about Majid’s innocence must be taken as final (“he couldn’t have staged it”). Walid’s denial of connection with the tapes in his final encounter with Georges is convincing.
5. The only conclusion I can draw from the final meeting of the two boys is that the whole story has entered the psyche of Pierrot and that is the real revenge.
6. The tapes? Must be Haneke. One thing which I believe is that our deeds are indelibly printed on our minds, at whatever depth of consciousness. You can escape from the legal system, but the real punishment is the psychological degeneration. This is an absolute law. It is said that when we die our entire life plays out like a video cassette. This is what karma actually means. In terms of psychological damage one can never escape the effects of one’s deeds. One easily recognizes grown-up Georges in the prevaricating boy that he was. I don’t think this is what Haneke is conveying.
7.In that sense the video tapes are the Recording Angel or the imprints of karma, or the workings of conscience, which are inescapable, absolute, and strict.
8.Could be to remind us about the Parisien Tien Mien, the massacre of Algerians, about which I for one have heard for the first time. The aslant approach penetrates deeper into the mind. Examples: Munyurangabo, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Nuit et Bruillard.The historical tragedy is a repressed memory like the "interlude" in Georges' childhood.

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma


Seongyong Cho said...

1. Being intimidated, he probably said something to his parents and then ruined Majid's future as a result. Georges confess to his wife about what he did some hours after final meeting with Majid, but can we believe his story entirely? Coughing boy could be Majid, but maybe....

2. There is one scene where Majid and Walid are in the same space, but Haneke and actors don't provide any clue for what happened between them after the first meeting between Majid and Georges

7. I had similar conclusion four years ago. Guilty people always feel wrong in the end. What we have done follows us like ghost(or video tapes in this case) throughout our life. And it may even begin new cycle.

S. M. Rana said...

@Seongyong Cho

1.Yes, what I said was a kind of far flung guess, and the puzzle remains. I doubt whether a third view would shed much light. And certainly requires more careful viewing than I gave.

9.I have seen no Korean film. Can you tell me one, two or three of your favourites-I should love to see at least one or two!

Seongyong Cho said...

"Oldboy" and "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring". I want to recommend "Mother", but it's probably hard to get so I recommend other excellent work of same director. "Memories of Murder".

S M Rana said...

@Seongyong Cho

Thank you very much. Oldboy seems available and I hope to see it soon.