Un Secret (‘A Secret’)

DRAMA; 1hr 40min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Cécile de France, Patrick Bruel

Pre-Occupied: de France and Bruel

In World War II France, the Nazi occupation isn’t spoken of by young François’s handsome, athletic parents (de France and Bruel). François (Valentin Vigourt as a child, Quentin Dubuis as a teenager, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly ’s Mathieu Amalric as an adult) is a sickly, skinny boy who invents a spirited elder brother (Orlando Nicoletti) to stave off his distance from his father and complete his ideal of the perfect family. Then, at age 15, François discovers his family history is marked by scandal, division, denial and tragedy. Only from that critical point is he free to realise his potential.


Director Claude Miller’s eloquent, low-key screenplay (co-written with Natalie Carter) is based on the 2004 novel by Philippe Grimbert, which itself is written from real events. Filmed in black-and-white (for the present tense) and colour (for the flashbacks), and spanning five decades, Un Secret is an elegant reflection on the potent grip of the past, and the liberation of letting go those who have been lost to it.