Fantastic! I just finished this film and here were the thoughts I jotted down as I watched it. Having subsequently read this thread, I would only amend to include Joe’s excellent theory about collusion between the two sons, and an expansion of a possible exegesis of the film to include all immigrants rather than just Algerians (Jazzahola’s point above).
The film is about truths we hide; from ourselves, from our spouses, from our family, from our co-workers, and so on. Surveillence here is not meant to connote some sort of Big brother always watching, but our own consciences constantly harboring those memories, waiting—surveilling—for the moment when we act in such a way as to necessitate their return. The tapes are symbolic.
Notice the similarities between the living room, the talk show set and his superior’s office: charis set close together with books/tapes all around. The living room and the office are supposed to be places of intimacy, places where things are not hidden, but they are just as much places of show as the set. The only place the truth is spoken in the film, truly, is in Majid’s apartment.
The juxtaposition of these tapes with the newsreel tapes (and the appearance of such news tapes in Haneke’s previous films) is indicitive of a statement about France’s guilt over the 1961 Algerian protest, and subsequent massacre.
The shot in the elevator is excellent—George is barely visible in the reflection of the wall, trying to hide from the truth, from Majid’s son, from his conscience, which of course is impossible.