In 1953, a sensitive French boy finds out from a neighbor that his family’s Jewish. François Grimbert becomes a physician, and gradually peels the layers of his buried family history which resulted in his difficult upbringing, raised as Catholic by his “Aryan” appearing parents. His athletic father labored to stamp out stereotypical Jewish characteristics he perceived in his son, to keep the family’s many secrets, as most relatives fought in World War II, and later were hauled off to labor and death camps by the Gestapo. Based on a true story.
I was able to see to see this film as part of a recent festival of French films shown at Cannes. It was one of the better French movies that I’ve seen but somehow it lacks the emotional impact to make it a truly outstanding film.
Un Secret is about Francois, who gradually learns about his family’s secret history, dating back to World War II, that continues to haunt his parents and himself even up to the present. The director expresses this idea visually by shooting the present day scenes in black and white and the flashback scenes in color.
The plot of Un Secret is well-laid out and comes together satisfyingly enough. I have to admit that one problem I had with the film was that I had some problems following the complicated family relationships among the characters, but once you get past that, the way the story unfolds is ultimately rewarding.
The problem I had with the film, which may just be my problem, is that the film lacks emotional impact. The film’e emotions are understated and, while this is not necessarily a bad thing, prevents it from becoming truly memorable.
Still, its one of the better recent French films and you should see it if you get the chance.
Director: Claude Miller
Writers: Claude Miller (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), Natalie Carter (scenario, adaptation and dialogue)
Stars: Cécile de France, Patrick Bruel, Ludivine Sagnier
Language: French | Yiddish | German | Hebrew
Release Date: 3 October 2007 (France)
Also Known As: A Secret
Filming Locations: Felletin, Creuse, France
Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 4
File size : 496 MiB
Duration : 1 h 42 min
Overall bit rate : 679 kb/s