A psychologically astute and sexually passionate drama about a married woman who embarks on an anonymous affair, Le Secret is reminiscent of Last Tango in Paris, with the crucial difference that the focus here is very much on a female protagonist. The film marks a striking directorial debut by Virginie Wagnon, who co-scripted The Dream Life of Angels. Dream Life’s director, Erick Zonca, has in turn assisted in the writing of Le Secret, which follows the earlier film’s hyper-realistic, semi-documentary shooting style. Like Zonca, Wagnon has also managed to elicit very strong performances from her actors. Anne Coesens is outstanding as Marie, an apparently well-adjusted wife and mother who enjoys her job selling encyclopaedias. The first signs of discontent come to the surface when husband Francois (Michel Bompoil) begins to push for the couple to have a second child. Marie resists and pretty soon she begins a torrid sexual affair with Bill (Tony Todd), an African-American living in Paris. Clearly in the throes of forces she cannot control, Marie is horrified by her own behaviour but makes no attempt to conceal anything from her distraught husband. This is a powerful film whose depiction of sexuality is explicit but never exploitative.
Dolby digital stereo.