Monday, March 13, 2006


A group of us went to see Hidden at the QFT last night.

The film begins with a static shot of a house which we eventually realise is a videotape being watched in a living room by Georges and his wife Anne and it is their house which is shown on the tape. They do not know who sent it along with an accompanying drawing which is symbolic but whose meaning is obscure to the viewer and not comprehended by the victims. As the film progresses, more tapes and drawings are left and they become more personal to Georges. Tensions mount and it begins to affect the couples personal relationship, which is already tenable, as they try to work out the meaning from the clues presented to them.

I found the film to work as an excellent slow burning thriller but the film also contains, and perhaps is really about, political allegory regarding Frances past which may not be too obvious to those oblivious to it [myself being one]. Only after reading this forum did the pieces begin to fit [Warning: Major Spoilers]. The film won Best Director at last years Cannes Film Festival along with other awards in subsequent cermonies. Few films today leave you thinking about it hours afterwards and I would certainly wish to watch it again at some point now that I'm clued up on the hidden context. However, with this deeply imbedded subterfuge, I can understand if some people are turned off by the films slow pace and seemingly superfluous scenes. Nevertheless, as a fan of French cinema, I found this to be a unique and refreshing change from mainstream offerings.

I would give this film 4 roosters out of 5.



Blogger Donovan said...

I found it incredibly boring. Absolute bollocks.

0 plot points out of 5

9:45 pm  
Blogger Jay Tea said...

Don't hold back man ;)

I think this is one of those marmite films that you either love or hate.
Lou and yourself both slated it and both myself and Colin enjoyed it. Who would have seen that one coming? :)

10:05 pm  
Blogger Donovan said...

I'm not sure it's even Marmite, at least Marmite has substance.

The film was full of superfluous, lingering shots, inane dialogue, and next to no story at all.

While watching it I kept waiting for the film to really kick into gear, the tapes that were sent were really not that impressive, and revealed nothing shocking from his past. I thought he'd be put in a position where some nasty history would be revealed, but instead he gets a headache and goes to bed. Probably a wiser move.

To go to a guy that you have "a hunch" is the guy behind the tapes, and immediately accuse him of "terrorising" them without so much as even asking if he had been filming them, didn't make any sense at all. I kept waiting for something dramatic to be sent through the post, something that may actually be enough to make them worried, then the film ended. Boringly.

If this film is an allegory of a greater issue, i.e. that of Algerians and French people, then why make a point by quietly muttering it in the background? If I knew more about the political situation it was subtly alluding to, then maybe I would get somethign out of it, but it's not my expert subject, and the film didn't help bring the subject into focus. Stagnant hours of nothingness interspersed with 1 shock scene. If that's supposed to make you think, then I was thinking "when's this thing going to start?". I had to fight to keep my eyes open throughout, and that certainly didn't help, especially when the white subtitles were handily placed against a white background.

The film hardly makes any kind of point at all, and in my opinion was not worth anywhere near 4 out of 5.

10:34 pm  
Anonymous Lou said...

I didn't slate the film at all, so there's no need for the 'we have superior, more intelligent, indie tastes than u morons argument'! True, I did not rate it as highly as you and Colin, but if you recall I gave the film 3 out of 5. I said it had an intriguing plotline, but found the drawn out scenes of everyday life mundane and uneccessary. Nor did i appreciate the film ending on an ambiguous note and leaving the audience unfulilled. Overall I wouldnt say 3 out of 5 is bad!

11:18 pm  
Blogger Jay Tea said...

Some fair points there Don which I do agree with to an extent [that extent being that I myself enjoyed the flow of the movie etc] but I can totally concede why a lot of people can understandably see this film as a piece of crap.

Apologies to Lou, I thought that she said the film was worth 2.5/5 tops last night.

Also it is generally true that myself and Colin do appreciate these kind of movies more than other other people do so that's what I was alluding to, rather than a comment based on a superiority-complex of foreign flicks.

But yes, 3/5 ain't bad!

12:49 am  
Blogger Skry said...

I don't think that any of you can complain - it's a French art house movie, so unless you like art house movies or the French then you were probably in the wrong place.

I hate both, so my uninformed opinion of the film agrees with Don I'm afraid.

The picture on the front page of this site sums up my views of the French exactly... :D

1:20 am  
Blogger Donovan said...

Well, I was expecting a thriller, rather than an "art house" movie, so was disappointed...

However, having slated it, it may be worth adding that I was very tired at the time and had difficulty following all of the subtitles. We initally had to move back to a row further away with less leg room as people's heads were in the way of the subtitles - poor planning from QFT.

Maybe on another day I might have given it a more favourable viewing, though it's not really my kind of film I guess.

9:20 am  
Blogger Skry said...

Yeah for a new cinema the QFT has some terrible planning issues. I can't believe someone actually had the stupid idea of converting one of the rooms from a proper tiered cinema room to a normal, flat-floored room with a cinema screen not exactly mounted high up the wall.

The last time I was there I had similar issues with peoples heads getting in the way, although there were no free seats to move to so I had to suffer it. I wouldn't be quite so annoyed if I was a kid - you gotta expect that shit when you're small - but Don and I are both over 6 feet tall and shouldn't have this trouble without someone having badly messed up.

Trying to demand maximum prices for a poor, second-rate cinema showing not overly popular movies is going to destroy the QFT. Whoever suggested and seconded the motion of flattening one room and making a bar instead of a third screen room needs their heads examined! They're both rookie mistakes in cinema-building that even we non-professionals wouldn't have made.

12:44 am  

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