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Interview: Michael Haneke • Cannes 2005

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Hidden truths


- A film in tones as blue as a haematoma on the skin

Interview: Michael Haneke • Cannes 2005

Haneke returns to Cannes for the eight time with his film Hidden [+see also:
film review
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interview: Margaret Menegoz
interview: Michael Haneke
film profile
, in tones as blue as a haematoma on the skin, and it has every chance of winning a prize. With the splendid Daniel Auteuil and (Juliette Binoche alongside him) it is less shocking than The Piano Teacher but leaves us nonetheless with a certain anxiety. Haneke asks us not to reveal the elements of the story: "The strength of the film lies in its ability to hold the attention all the way through. The spectator’s contemplation is in the foreground".

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A small private tale that tells a bigger story, that of the unburdening of French errors with regard to Algeria?
The Algerian question is naturally at the centre of the film, but it would be a shame to reduce the story to just that. It’s a film about a sense of blame in general, the personal mistakes of everyone of us, the story of a man who covers his eyes in order to forget his choices. Every country has an error it would like to unburden, like France has, but in each country the political consequences are diverse. Austria, Germany they too have a past to forget.

In the film, someone threatens a family by sending them VHS tapes showing images of their private life filmed in secret but it doesn’t reveal the guilty party.
It’s up to the viewer to find the solution, to interpret. I pose the questions, the viewer is invited to find the answers. That’s why the last scene is left open and it’s not so vital to uncover the guilty party. Mainstream films always give the answer before posing the question. The films I remember are the ones that have destabilised me.

It’s clearly someone with an old score to settle.
We sense a great sadness behinds these threats. I would never say of one of my characters that he is sick, crazy or perverse. I only suggest solutions.

And the film certainly won’t show where the truth lies.
All my films deal with the same theme, they ask what’s the nature of truth. The truth in cinema, in the media, the manipulation of it. That’s why I use images within images, to destabilise the viewer’s perception and to ask him or her to pose the question as to where the truth is hiding. It’s a question I ask myself all the time and which makes me react. But I’m not a school teacher. I simply stimulate the spectator‘s will to communicate with the film.

The principal character directs a television show called “Books and Images”. Is it more difficult for an intellectual to hide?
It’s possible to know everything and still be emotionally unarmed. I’m an intellectual but that doesn’t help me in my private life!


main awards/selection

EFA 2005 Best Film, Best Director (Michel Haneke), Best Actor (Daniel Auteuil), Best Editing (Michael Hudecek & Nadine Muse)
Cannes 2005 Official Competition
Best Director, FIPRESCI Award (Competition), Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

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