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Brutal Visability: Framing Majid's Suicide in Michael Haneke's Cache (2005)

Brutal Visability: Framing Majid's Suicide in Michael Haneke's Cache (2005) Thumbnail


Abstract

This article considers the figure of Majid in Michael Haneke's Caché (2005) and the cinematic structures that influence both the spectator's and the other protagonists’ ability to place his life within the sphere of the visible and the grievable. The formal tropes that Haneke employs emphasize Majid's exclusion and his impenetrability, as well as generating a persistent anxiety in the spectator around meaning and signification in the film. Drawing on Judith Butler's work on grievability and Jacques Rancière's thinking of visibility and the distribution of the sensible, this article argues that Haneke deliberately constructs a consistent tension between the seen and the unseen of representation, generating an anxious, uncertain rhythm which is violently ruptured by Majid's suicide. This disturbing scene shatters the familiar frames and cadences that have thus far constituted the diegetic space of Caché, imposing a form of brutal visibility upon both Georges and the spectator. Ultimately, this article suggests that this scene forces the spectator into an unavoidable, albeit uncomfortable, form of political recognition, a recognition which points towards wider socio-political exclusions of marginal populations in twentieth- and twenty-first-century France.

Citation

(2017). Brutal Visability: Framing Majid's Suicide in Michael Haneke's Cache (2005). Nottingham French Studies, 82-97. https://doi.org/10.3366/nfs.2017.0169

Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2017
Publication Date Feb 8, 2017
Journal Nottingham French Studies
Print ISSN 0029-4586
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Pages 82-97
DOI https://doi.org/10.3366/nfs.2017.0169
Keywords visibility; loss; Michael Haneke; Judith Butler; Jacques Ranciere; Algeria; film; 17 October 1961
Publisher URL http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/nfs.2017.0169

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