What about Majid? Circuits of violence and hyper-visibility in Michael Haneke’s Caché/Hidden

Document Type


Publication Date

September 2019


Michael Hanekeʼs 2005 film Caché (Hidden) reversed a racialised gaze: the whiteFrench bourgeoisie are watched by an unknown source. The protagonist Georgespresumes, although never proves, that this source is Majid, a character with,presumably, Algerian descent. The author traces what amounts to a racistpresumption by Georges back to his childhood in order to show that Frenchcolonisation created circuits of psychological violence from which Algerians haveno escape, even in contemporary France. Caché therefore makes visible themechanisms which continue to oppress as well as to enact (post)-colonialviolence – psychological and physical – upon Algerians in France. Furthermore,scholars of Caché have criticised the disproportionately low representation ofMajid but largely refrained from analysis of Majidʼs scenes. This article seeks toexpand that scholarship and analyse the access which we are granted into Majidʼsworld. The author highlights that the psychological violence which Majid enduresstems principally from an historical surveillance of Algerians in French society. Sheultimately argues that, while the French are made visible in this film, Majid, and byextension, Algerian immigrants, are made even more so; in other words, Hanekereveals a ‘regard cach./hidden gazeʼ on what is in contemporary France a hypervisibleAlgerian population.