Monday, June 7, 2010

Code Unknown

So, great job, me. My first official vacation, and for reasons I will not get into, I only managed to watch one movie for my marathon. Which, you know, is about the same number of movies I have time to watch on a work night. Again, I won't spell out the whole obnoxious story as to why I only watched one, but suffice t to say that I did also see about half of Alain Resnais's Mon Oncle D'Amerique and will probably never get to see the rest of it.

Code Unknown is classic Michael Haneke: precise, provocative, elliptical. Each sequence of the film begins and ends abruptly, each one filmed in one take. (One clever sequence appears to have a bunch of cuts, but then the camera pulls back and reveals that it's a movie that some of the characters are watching). It tells several intersecting stories of different people in Paris, touching on issues of miscommunication, immigration, racism and homelessness. It sounds a bit like Crash, but really it is sort of the anti-Crash in the way it refuses to generate any false drama, or to explicate the connection between all the different scenarios. If I was left scratching my head a little bit as to some of the details of the story, I think that was Haneke's intent; his long take, sometimes deep-focus style uses the margins of the frame to sneak in important details, and I'm not sure I caught all of them. I'm sure that's alienating to some viewings, but I like the way that Haneke tries to force the audience to be as active in its participation as possible. It's not as mysterious as Haneke's Cache, but I think does warrant another viewing some day to grasp the full picture.

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