Ambivalence and Displacement in Michael Haneke's "Cache" (2005)
This essay will discuss what Frantz Fanon has called "the extreme ambivalence" of the colonial setting via an analysis of the film "Cache" (Hidden) by Michael Haneke (2005). Drawing upon several recent texts that analyze the interplay between psychic and empirical forms of colonization (Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation, edited by Homi Bhabha and WJT Mitchell, 2005; Bordello Dialectics by Douglas Eli Julien, 2006; The Colonization of Psychic Space by Kelly Oliver,2004), the essay will focus on the how the "setting" of the conflict between France and Algeria has been displaced into the psyche of one man whose guilt over his earlier treatment of an Algerian boy forever colors his relationship to contemporary French culture, and to his family. The essay will discuss this displacement, which blends and confuses social and psychic settings, as a phenomenon that haunts the western industrialized world in the wake of colonial relations. In so doing, it will show how the privileged narrative of film can greatly enrich our understanding of larger social phenomena whose meanings are as unsettling as they are ambivalent.
Keywords: Postcolonialism, Cultural Studies, Frantz Fanon, Homi Bhabha
Dr. Mary Caputi
Professor, California State University, Long Beach