Indeterminacy and interpretation: what is shown and what is hidden in Michael Haneke's 'Caché'

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This chapter considers how ideas developed in relevance-theoretic pragmatics can help to explain some of the complexities involved in interpreting texts and some of the ways in which these contribute to different kinds of responses and evaluations. It does this by focusing on Michael Haneke’s 2005 film 'Caché' ('Hidden' in English). The chapter discusses selected features of 'Caché', indicating some of the ways in which critics and others have responded to it. It presents key ideas developed in relevance-theoretic work, about indeterminacy and about the relative ‘spontaneousness’ of interpretations, and argues that these can help us to understand the film’s effects and how varying responses come about. The chapter argues that ideas from pragmatics such as these can contribute towards fuller accounts of the complex processes involved in producing and responding to texts in general, that they help us to understand Caché and different kinds of responses to it and that they can also help to explain differences between fairly formal interpretative and evaluative work and less formal responses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Language, Text and Context
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary research in stylistics in honour of Michael Toolan
EditorsRuth Page, Beatrix Busse, Nina Nørgaard
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781351183222
ISBN (Print)9780815395768
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2018


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