Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Repressed Memories Reappear From Videotapes: Lost Highway and Cache

While re-watching Cache, I realized that the opening scene is basically the same scene in my favorite David Lynch film, Lost Highway. In both films, a couple receives videotapes of their front house. Creepy, right?  Now both films have different plots and reasons why these videotapes exist, but they both have the same reasoning behind them. After the male protagonists watch these tapes, their past and truth come forward. David Lynch and Michael Haneke have not discussed the mystery behind their films, so both films are open to interpretation, but these tapes are the start of repressed memories being revealed. Except the last paragraph, there are spoilers from this point.

In Lost Highway, Fred (Bill Pullman) and his wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) receive a videotape of their front house. They receive another one, of them sleeping, so the police investigate, but are no help. At a party, Fred meets a mysterious man (Robert Blake) whom claims he is also currently at Fred's house. At the end, we find out that the Mystery Man is the one responsible for the videotapes, Mystery Man is Fred's reality and subconscious. Shortly after the party, Fred receives another tape of him hovering over Renee's dead body, Fred then arrested for the murder, then turns into Pete (Balthazar Getty) while in jail. Pete meets Alice (Arquette), who is Renee but with blonde hair. Fred didn't want to deal with the pain and reality of killing Renee, so he created Pete in hopes of being with Renee in another world. The film ends with the beginning of the film, the story looping together, giving me reason to think that the videotapes are a part of Fred's subconscious that reminded Fred that he killed Renee's lover, later killing Renee too. Early in the film, Fred told the police that he doesn't like owning a video camera because he likes to remember things the way he remembers them, "not necessarily the way they happened". Because of what Fred said, it makes sense that these videotapes are a reminder of reality to Fred, which he wants to forget and ignore.

In Cache, Georges and his wife Anne receive a videotape of a recording of the front of their house. In Cache, it is unknown who and why these videotapes exist, but they are the reason why Georges remembers his past that he purposely repressed. This film has a historical reference to Georges ignorance, Haneke referring to the Paris Massacre of 1961, though Haneke said his film could reference any homicide where people ignored what happened. The videotape footage changes settings, leading Georges to Majid. Georges' parents once adopted Majid, but Georges told lies about Majid so he'd be sent off to an orphanage. Georges denies responsibility for doing so, saying that he was only a child and does not feel bad for Majid nor his son. Throughout the film, Georges has nightmares and flashbacks of when he was younger, the viewers learn that Majid was adopted since Majid's parents where killed in the massacre. The videotapes Georges and Anne keep receiving remind Georges of his repressed memories and his unwillingness to take blame for what he did, just like the Parisian police in the massacre.

No more spoilers, you can breathe again. I will admit that my summaries do not do justice for how amazing both films are: suspenseful, mysterious, and chilling.  If you have not seen either films, I highly recommend them. Now if you excuse me, I have to return some videotapes.


  1. I skipped past the spoiler paragraphs, but I so want to see both of these movies. I am lacking in Lynch. I've only seen Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, but I actually just started Twin Peaks (the series) after finding it on Netflix. Loved the pilot. And I always wanted to see Cache as well. I remember it getting great reviews.

    1. In my opinion Lost Highway was better than Mulholland Drive and I LOVE that film. Twin Peaks is great too! Especially the pilot, that might be my favorite episode actually. If you're interested in psychological thrillers, you'll like Lost Highway and Cache, very different from a lot of films.