Movie Review by Harriet Robbins
There have been many gripping films about the Holocaust--too numerous to mention, you might say--but not until I viewed A SECRET, Claude Miller's latest work based on Phillipe Grimberg's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, did I realize the diverse emotional tapestry of the people involved.
A SECRET, winner of the 2008 Cesar Award for Julie Depardieu (best actress in a supporting role) and recipient of the Grand Prix Des Ameriques at the 2007 Montreal World Film Festival, is now in release by Strand Films in DVD and at selected theatres.
Simon & Schuster has published an English translaion of Grimberg's book, MEMORY, A NOVEL.
What is remarkable about the film is the way it explores the various attitudes and reactions of people caught up in a world tragedy. The focus is on a middleclass Jewish family living in France being thrown into the maelstrom of events that followed World War II.
In an interview Claude Miller has said, "When we speak about victims of Nazi oppression, we often have the impression that they weren't people like everyone else, that they hadn't experienced love, romance and passion. I was born in 1942. Most of my uncles, aunts and grandparents didn't come back from the concentration camps. I was haunted by Grimberg's traumatizing, stressful story, and began to experience fear and phobias. I sensed that the adaptation of his novel might be the occasion to pay tribute to both my family and their story."
Miller has achieved his purpose with this superb film. Past and present mingle and meld as human frailties emerge in the battle for survival. The overwhelming impact of world events upon the victims and survivors affords us a better understanding of the tragic events that occurred during and after WW II.
A SECRET is a must-see film that explores the human condition with a probing eye, revealing its innermost failures and triumphs.