Kristo Nurmis
University of Tartu, Department of History and Archeology


This article examines the mechanisms and representation of socio-political allegory in a feature film through the example of Michael Haneke’s "Hidden" (2005). The film contrasts allegorically the routine of bourgeoisie Western European everyday life and the wretched and frustratied existence of a late migrant population trying more or less to break out of its second class time-space.

The paper uses the method of chronotopic analysis, which is based on the theory that in every film there can be differentiated (for better understanding) three different levels of so-called "time-spaces": topological (diegetical), psychological (character’s), and metaphysical (auteur’s). On the topological level the opposition between material surroundings is analyzed: historical context of postcolonial France (with its amnesia towards its late colonial sins), the material surroundings of living spaces (mise-en-scène, poetics of space etc). On the second, psychological level, the intra-cultural/social relations and stereotypes (the open and the hidden) amid the main characters are examined. With the metaphysical level a special attention is given on Haneke’s mechanisms of self-reflection (of the auteur as well as of the film medium (incl. television) itself), questioning the intertwined but vague relationship between images and reality in the modern world.

Haneke’s socio-political allegory of the postcolonial Europe is sober, erudite and analytical, as it achieves to avoid the conventional pathos and drama of many other socio-critical movies. The ability of "Hidden" to address the ambivalence of real and constructed (reality and images) in our everyday lives demonstrates skillfully the potency of visual narration to give fresh and deconstructive perspectives on the complex problems of today’s world.

Keywords: film analysis, chronotope, intercultural relations, Mikhail Bakhtin, Macheal Haneke