France - Germany - Austria - Romania, 2000
A film by
Code Unknown: Eurovisions
One might plausibly consider the sum of the film’s fragments as a map for the political, social, and psychological ills of our globalized world.
The Criterion Collection
Stuck in the middle
Code Unknown, a film about the impossibility of ethical relations in a profoundly unequal society.
Paris, Anne (Juliette Binoche) is an actress on the verge of success. After leaving her building for a publicity meeting, she runs into her young brother-in-law Jean (Alexandre Hamidi) who had been waiting outside. Jean informs her that he has left his rural home and quickly convinces Anne to let him stay at her apartment. As he walks back to her apartment he disrespectfully throws a used bag onto the lap of a street beggar - the Romanian immigrant Maria (Luminita Gheorghiu). Amadou, a young man of West African descent, witnesses Jean’s act and demands that he apologises to beggar.
After Jean’s refusal precipitates a fight, the local police intervene and arrest Amadou, letting Jean leave the scene unquestioned. Maria is also arrested and deported for being an illegal Romanian immigrant.
With Code inconnu (Code Unknown), his first French language film, developed following an approach by Juliette Binoche, Michael Haneke explores the causes and consequences of a seemingly insignificant episode on a Parisian street and the very real repercussions for all involved as they struggle with the inability to communicate. Is truth the sum of what we see and hear?
Code inconnu premièred at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.
The young Arab
French trailer with English subtitles #1
French trailer with English subtitles #2
French trailer with English subtitles #3
Code inconnu featurette