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ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival


ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival is dedicated to the discovery and advancement of the very best independent films from around the world. We are a festival who believes in our independent filmmakers and their artistic talents. ÉCU proudly provides a unique platform that brings together diverse audiences who are hungry for something other than major studio productions and original and innovative filmmakers. 

 
The 16th edition of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival will take place on 9th-11th April 2021. Now open for submissions!

 

 

 

For more details regarding the festival, please visit our website at www.ecufilmfestival.com

 

 


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Parisian Landscapes: The geography of Michael Haneke’s “Hidden”

by Jennifer Wallace

Parisian landscapes are frequently manipulated by directors to create
a self-contained world for the protagonists. In Michael Haneke’s
‘Hidden’, clues to unravelling the mystery of the film are deeply
embedded in its location. Jen Wallace visits the Cité florale to
unearth some answers.

If you were to ask people what films they know that are set in Paris,
you’d be sure to come up with popular answers such as ‘Amélie’, ‘Paris
Je t’aime’ or ‘An American in Paris’. These films represent the typical
cliché views of the city: romance, art, strolls along the Seine and
quirky characters wielding baguettes and gesticulating wildly.

Lesser known films set in Paris often show a darker side to the city
and deal with contemporary issues facing the population, such as
immigration, French history, and guilt. These are the topics of the 2005
Haneke film ‘Hidden’, and what is key to understanding this complicated
(and at times disturbing) film is the manipulation of the Parisian
setting by the director himself.

The opening minutes consist of a static shot of a house, which we
assume is taken from a surveillance camera. Later on, tapes are
continuously sent to its owners in what seems to be some kind of
harassment or blackmail attempt. An interesting bit of information is
that this house really does exist in the 13th arrondissement, near the
Parc Montsouris in the Cité florale. This is a very wealthy bourgeoisie
area, with beautiful houses covered in a variety of flora. It is very
quaint, and seems to be quite peaceful. The house itself is set back
from the road and covered in ivy, with a large wall around it, making it
almost impenetrable. A perfect location for a character who is trying
to shut out his own past.

Many questions are raised during the film, the principle one being:
who is sending the tapes and how are they filming them? At one point,
the protagonist (Georges) steps onto the Rue Des Iris (no coincidence in
the connection between an iris, an eye, and a camera lens) and tries to
find this mysterious camera. Bizarrely, he is left facing an empty
street. The picture below allows you to see what he sees.

There is no way that a surveillance camera could be placed here. The
road is empty, there’s nowhere to hide one, and there’s no trace of a
camera mounted on the wall or in a car.

One major clue is given to the audience as to who’s behind the tapes.
The only camera on that road, filming Georges and his family in his
carefully concealed Parisian house, belongs to the director himself.

Hence, the unusual breaking of the cinematic illusion leads to all
sorts of debate surrounding the breaking of the fourth wall, as well as
the obvious manipulation of the lives of the protagonists by the
director. I don’t want to give anything away, but I believe that
understanding the location of the film and the particular geography of
this small Cité florale can provide a new reading of the film, and
suggest a little bit more about the mystery being unravelled.

 

Paysages parisiens : La géographie de Caché, de Michael Haneke

 

Par Jennifer Wallace

Les paysages parisiens sont souvent manipulés par les metteurs en
scène, qui enferment leurs protagonistes dans un univers confiné. Dans
Caché, de Michael Haneke, les indices qui permettent de dévoiler le
mystère du film sont étroitement liés aux lieux. Jen Wallace visite la
Cité florale pour en exhumer quelques réponses.

Si on demande à quelqu’un de citer des films qui se déroulent à
Paris, on peut être sûr de s’entendre répondre des films populaires
comme : Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, Paris Je t’aime ou Un
Americain à Paris. Ces films représentent les typiques clichés parisiens
: l’Art, les histoires d’amour, les promenades le long de la Seine, les
personnages hauts en couleur qui gesticulent dans tous les sens,
baguette à la main.

Des films moins connus révèlent souvent un côté plus sombre de la
ville et traitent des problèmes contemporains que connaissent les
habitants, comme l’immigration, l’Histoire de France, la culpabilité.
Ces sujets sont au coeur de Caché, film complexe (voire dérangeant),
réalisé par Haneke en 2005, qu’on ne peut comprendre qu’en observant la
manipulation du cadre parisien par le metteur en scène lui-même.

Le film s’ouvre sur le plan fixe d’une maison, qui semble être filmée
depuis une caméra de surveillance. Par la suite, ses propriétaires,
visiblement victimes de harcèlement ou de chantage, ne cessent de
recevoir des cassettes. Il est intéressant de noter que cette maison
existe effectivement : elle se trouve dans la Cité Florale, un quartier
bourgeois du 13ème arrondissement près du Parc Montsouris. De
magnifiques maisons couvertes de végétation forment un paisible
environnement pittoresque. La maison en question est en retrait de la
route, elle est recouverte de lierre, et entourée d’un mur épais qui la
rend presque impénétrable. C’est l’endroit idéal pour un personnage qui
tente de refouler son passé.

Plusieurs questions se posent pendant le film, la principale étant : qui
envoie ces cassettes et comment sont-elles filmées ? À un certain
moment, Georges, le protagoniste, part à la recherche de la mystérieuse
caméra dans la rue Des Iris. Inutile d’ajouter que le lien entre un
iris, un oeil et l’objectif d’une caméra n’a rien d’une coïncidence.
Assez bizarrement, il se retrouve dans une rue déserte. L’image en
dessous vous montre ce qu’il voit.

Il est impossible qu’une caméra de surveillance soit placée à cet
endroit. Il n’y a rien dans cette rue, pas même un endroit pour cacher
une caméra, ni aucune trace qu’elle ait pu être fixée sur un mur ou une
voiture.

Le public détient cependant un indice essentiel pour découvrir qui se
cache derrière les cassettes. La seule caméra dans cette rue, celle qui
filme George et sa famille dans leur maison soigneusement cachée,
appartient au metteur en scène lui-même.

Cette inhabituelle rupture de l’illusion cinématographique attise
toutes sortes de débats autour de la suppression du quatrième mur, ainsi
que l’évidente manipulation de la vie des protagonistes par le
réalisateur. Je ne veux pas vous gâcher la surprise, mais sachez qu’en
comprenant les lieux de tournage et la géographie particulière de cette
petite Cité florale, on peut voir le film d’une toute autre manière, et
en savoir plus sur le mystère qu’il entretient.

 

 

 

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About ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival

Hillier Scott
(ECU)

 

 

Scott Hillier, Founder and President of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival
 
Scott Hillier is a director, cinematographer, and screenwriter, based in Paris, France. In the last 20 years, Hillier has gained international recognition from his strong and incredible cinematography, editing, writing, producing and directing portfolio in both the television and film industries.  
 
Scott began his career in the television industry in Australia. In 1988, he moved to London getting a job with the BBC who then set him to Baghdad. This opportunity led him to 10 years of traveling around world for the BBC, mainly in war zones like Somalia, Bosnia, Tchetcheynia, Kashmir, and Lebanon. After a near fatal encounter with a Russian bomber in Tchechnyia, Hillier gave up his war coverage and began in a new direction. 
 

He moved to New York City in 1998.  He directed and photographed eight one-hour documentaries for National Geographic and The Discovery Channel. Based on his war knowledge and experience, Hillier wrote and directed a short film titled, “Behind the Eyes of War!" The film was awarded “Best Short Dramatic Film” at the New York Independent Film and TV Festival in 1999. From that he served as Supervising Producer and Director for the critically acclaimed CBS 42 part reality series, "The Bravest” in 2002 and wrote and directed a stage play called, "Deadman’s Mai l," which ran at Le Théâtre du Moulin de la Galette in Paris during the summer of 2004. He then became the Director of Photography on a documentary titled, “Twin Towers." This was yet another life changing experience for Hillier. The riveting documentary won an Academy Award for "Best Documentary Short Subject" in 2003. In 2004, Hillier changed continents again, spending three months in Ethiopia. He produced “Worlds Apart,” a pilot for ABC America / True Entertainment / Endemol. As you can see, Hillier was and is always in constant movement and enjoys working in a number of diverse creative areas including documentaries, music videos, commercials, feature and short films.

 
Scott studied film at New York University and The London Film and Television School. He also studied literary non-fiction writing at Columbia University. Hillier's regular clients include the BBC, Microsoft, ABC, PBS and National Geographic. Between filming assignments, he used to teach film, a Masters Degree course in Screenwriting at the Eicar International Film School in Paris, France and journalism at the Formation des Journalistes Français in Paris, France. 
 

 


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