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Code Unknown (2000)
"Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 7,077 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 69 user | 65 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

Jean, a farm lad, wants to escape his silent father; he runs to Paris to his older brother, Georges, who's away covering the war in Kosovo. Angry, he throws a bag of half-eaten pastry into ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Anne Laurent
...
Georges
Josef Bierbichler ...
The Farmer (as Sepp Bierbichler)
Alexandre Hamidi ...
Jean
Maimouna Hélène Diarra ...
Aminate
Ona Lu Yenke ...
Amadou
Djibril Kouyaté ...
The Father
...
Maria
Crenguta Hariton ...
Irina (as Crenguta Hariton Stoica)
Bob Nicolescu ...
Dragos
...
Pierre
Paulus Manker ...
Perrin
Didier Flamand ...
The Director
Walid Afkir ...
The Young Arab (as Walide Afkir)
Maurice Bénichou ...
The Old Arab
Edit

Storyline

Jean, a farm lad, wants to escape his silent father; he runs to Paris to his older brother, Georges, who's away covering the war in Kosovo. Angry, he throws a bag of half-eaten pastry into a beggar's lap. Amadou, a young Franco-African, berates him. The police arrive, arrest Amadou and deport the beggar. Georges's girlfriend Anne is upset; it colors her relationship with Georges when he returns from the war. Separate lives intersect for the one moment, around the pastry bag, and all are altered. We follow each as repercussions of the incident play out. Deaf children bookend the film pantomiming words, feelings, and situations: what they are expressing? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Love has a language all its own

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

15 November 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Code Unknown  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

ESP 14,210,323 (Spain) (29 June 2001)
 »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film was shot in August 1999, Juliette Binoche was pregnant. To disguise her condition she wore loose "unkept" clothes. See more »

Quotes

Anne Laurent: Why didn't you call me?
Jean: I got the answer-phone.
Anne Laurent: Sorry.
Jean: I need a place.
Anne Laurent: Sorry?
Jean: Here in Paris.
Anne Laurent: How come?
Jean: I fucked off.
Anne Laurent: You did?
Jean: I can't stand him.
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Wild Wild West (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pure Art-house with No Apology
15 April 2005 | by (France) – See all my reviews

"Code Inconnu" is an utterly original, even revolutionary piece from the Austrian director who continually refuses to compromise and pander to an audience.

Many of the reviews on this site focus on the coherence of the film and suggest that the film lacks meaning or narrative, or even that the film is a failure because it is not easily comprehended. This is untrue and deeply unfair.

"Code Inconnu" is not an immediate film. Indeed it may take several viewings to really come to grips with the meaning of the film - certainly there is not a single definitive meaning. For many film viewers when the basic linear narrative is remote. Again this adds to the view that the meaning of this obscured film is pointless. However this is more a reflection of the viewer and of audience expectation than of this film.

In a series of free standing vignettes Haneke has fashioned a moral conundrum without an answer. Much like in life itself. But rather than searching for meaning or answers Haneke is daring us to confront the questions themselves. The themes here are obviously about racism and reality, but also conscience and the consequence of our actions. By linking his separate characters initially Haneke points out that we are tenuously linked to people by uncontrollable events. By setting his film in Parisian streets, Hanekes film becomes recognizable of all our lives.

The central performance from Binoche is equally ambiguous, again this adds to the strength of the piece, but also the difficulty inherent in it.

The best way to view this film is as a series of questions which have no easy answer. The code is indeed unknown. By viewing each episode as a single moral conundrum the film takes on a very interesting and worthwhile dimension.


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