Code Unknown

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Time Out says

Where Haneke's earlier 71 Fragments... traced a web of seemingly unconnected events leading up to a catastrophe, this takes the reverse tack of following the destinies of diverse characters witness to one seemingly inconsequential action - a disaffected youth tossing a paper wrapper into the lap of a Romanian woman begging on the Boulevard St Germain. It's a rewarding strategy, delving into the lives of an actress, her war-photographer lover, his brother and father, an African music teacher and his family, and the beggar and her compatriots, to produce a multi-perspective portrait of Western Europe as a society predicated on lies, inequality and communication breakdown. Nothing hugely original in that conclusion, perhaps, but the method is both lucid and dramatically compelling. Scenes here like Binoche being terrorised on the Métro while other passengers pretend not to notice are spinechillingly authentic. Moreover, despite the film's Bressonian rigours, its emotional force should finally give the lie to Haneke's reputation as a coldly academic film-maker.
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Release details

UK release:

2000

Duration:

117 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

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LiveReviews|5
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Less Deceived

Disappointing. The film shows moments of promise, but Haneke has no respect for his audience. I suspect that he is full of post-modern bullshit and therefore has lost all sense of the value of narrative. Thus, in the scene in the subway which the Time-Out critic and the others above all praise, (Scenes here like Binoche being terrorised on the Métro while other passengers pretend not to notice are spinechillingly authentic) Haneke leaves in the end of the take where Binoche is obviously laughing. Any other director would have edited that detail out, but Haneke thinks it is clever to leave it in. It ruins the effect of the scene and dissipates the tension of the racist attack on the white woman. That kind of film-making, where the audience are treated as morons, seems arrogant to me. It is a pity, because there are scraps of narrative which work well and the actors are trying to create something meaningful.

Technoguy

Haneke has crafted a fragmented masterpiece.He does this to eschew morality and moralising.A pebble of disaffection is thrown into the pond of modern city life and he charts the ripples in several lives. He chops and changes between the different lives in scenes often of one take, cutting after it’s started and before it’s finished.He doesn’t allow you to develop normal empathy for one or two characters,he shows you the inter-relatedness of all the characters. Also he keeps it real,even deluding you you are watching a real scene only to discover it’s a rehearsal or it’s a film within this film or a scene from a film that Anne(Binoche) is acting in.And was that child crawling on the balcony rail a real child in a real scene or only acting? Haneke takes his bourgeois audience out of their comfort zones of cause and consequence,story and narrative. He makes his audience do the real work to detect the missing links and discover the code unknown and project their own feelings onto this mosaic of interconnections and misunderstandings.He opens up the narrow bourgeoise world of European cinema so that characters from Romania,Mali Kosovo and France are together through the thought-experiment of film. Things take place in real time like the opening long take along the boulevard drawing all the characters in the subject together,or the very real scary scene shot on the subway where Anne is taunted and insulted by Arab youths,or the excellent supermarket shopping scene with Anne and Georges. Her frightening audition scene where she is trapped and appeals directly to the camera. As in this the film seems to say the multiethnic nature of modern life means we are all trapped behind ethnicity,class,wealth/poverty,bigotry,position searching out a common thread of courtesy, thinking before we speak unless we become paralyzed by fear,loneliness and isolation.

Technoguy

Haneke has crafted a fragmented masterpiece.He does this to eschew morality and moralising.A pebble of disaffection is thrown into the pond of modern city life and he charts the ripples in several lives. He chops and changes between the different lives in scenes often of one take, cutting after it’s started and before it’s finished.He doesn’t allow you to develop normal empathy for one or two characters,he shows you the inter-relatedness of all the characters. Also he keeps it real,even deluding you you are watching a real scene only to discover it’s a rehearsal or it’s a film within this film or a scene from a film that Anne(Binoche) is acting in.And was that child crawling on the balcony rail a real child in a real scene or only acting? Haneke takes his bourgeois audience out of their comfort zones of cause and consequence,story and narrative. He makes his audience do the real work to detect the missing links and discover the code unknown and project their own feelings onto this mosaic of interconnections and misunderstandings.He opens up the narrow bourgeoise world of European cinema so that characters from Romania,Mali Kosovo and France are together through the thought-experiment of film. Things take place in real time like the opening long take along the boulevard drawing all the characters in the subject together,or the very real scary scene shot on the subway where Anne is taunted and insulted by Arab youths,or the excellent supermarket shopping scene with Anne and Georges. Her frightening audition scene where she is trapped and appeals directly to the camera. As in this the film seems to say the multiethnic nature of modern life means we are all trapped behind ethnicity,class,wealth/poverty,bigotry,position searching out a common thread of courtesy, thinking before we speak unless we become paralyzed by fear,loneliness and isolation.