Michael Haneke's Cannes-winning film is a fascinating, terrifying mystery thriller. Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche (pictured) play Georges and Anne Laurent, a middle-class French bourgeois couple with a moody teenage son. Out of nowhere, the couple start receiving video tapes of the exterior of their house, their movements and their lives.
Georges sees a clue in one of the videos which leads him to a crumbling tower block in one of Paris's immigrant neighbourhoods to encounter someone from his past about whom he carries a guilty secret. Is he the one sending the videos? An explosive moment suggests not and the film reaches its enigmatic climax as the final credits roll.
Haneke's film draws on a dark moment in French history - 17 October 1961 - when Algerians protesting in Paris at French policy in their country were attacked by the police, leaving hundreds dead and injured. La nuit noire is still a taboo subject in France, but Haneke's film uses the tensions that still exist between the white French of all classes (Georges, a liberal, is depicted verbally abusing a black cyclist) and the country's immigrant population to dramatic affect.
The nightmare that the Laurents are plunged into is caused as much by their blinkered monocultural lives as Georges' past, as is acerbically viewed by both his mother and their son Pierrot. But it is the final scenes, as the credits roll, that truly brings out Haneke's theme of generations still bearing guilt and blame.