“Un Secret,” (“A Secret”), (2007) is a French movie, a dramatic evocation of World War II, and the Holocaust directed at Jews as it was played out in that Gallic country. It utilizes a flashback technique to tell the story of one particular family, the Grimberts, and, interestingly enough, gives us the scenes of current life in black and white; the WWII scenes in color. It’s apparently based on a true story, by Philippe Grimbert. Claude Miller directs this engrossing drama about a Jewish boy in post-World War II Paris who stumbles upon a mysterious toy in the attic, exposing his family's secret dark past and how it survived Nazi atrocities. It asks the question: can the young boy grasp the devastating truth, or will it drive him deeper into his personal fantasy world? It’s a thoughtful, meditative film, in which action comes slowly, and many of the more important happenings occur off-screen. However, it is telling a unique, individual story of people caught up in the war and the Holocaust, just when some of us probably thought there was no more to be said on that subject. The acting is top-rate, with the beauteous Cécile De France as Tania Stirn, champion swimmer/former Chanel model, as the boy’s mother; Julie Depardieu, as Louise, family friend and massage specialist; Patrick Bruel as Maxime Nathan Grinberg/Grimbert, a businessman, the boy’s father. Ludivine Sagnier turns in quite a performance as Hannah Golda Stirn / Grinberg , Maxime’s first wife. Mathieu Amalric plays the older Maxime. . There are, in fact, rather a lot of characters, which the film expects us to sort out; I was sometimes a bit confused between them. There is, however, no mistaking the sensuous longing tango that both the already married to others Tania and Maxime dance in the hellish days of WWII. I found these scenes among the sexiest I’ve ever seen in film; and, to me, the movie had great emotional power, but its meditative quality may not suit everyone.
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