MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 5,191 this week

Secret Defense (1998)
"Secret défense" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  18 March 1998 (France)
7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 556 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 22 critic

Sylvie, a 30-year-old scientist, has to dig deeper and deeper into her own background.

Director:

Writers:

(scenario), (scenario), 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

Emmy Awards 2014

We have the winners, photos and more in our 2014 Emmys section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 197 titles
created 05 Nov 2012
 
a list of 12 titles
created 21 Nov 2012
 
a list of 74 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 455 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 409 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Secret Defense" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Secret Defense (1998)

Secret Defense (1998) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Secret Defense.
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Fantasy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Julien lives alone with his cat. He dreams of Marie, and a few minutes later, he sees her on the street and makes a date. He asks her to move in with him, and she does. Her boyfriend is ... See full summary »

Director: Jacques Rivette
Stars: Emmanuelle Béart, Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Anne Brochet
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Unable to forget her first love, Félicité, a simple and kind maid, devotes herself completely to her new master, Mathilde Aubain. As the passing of time doesn't heal her wounds, she gives ... See full summary »

Director: Marion Laine
Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Marina Foïs, Pascal Elbé
Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Martial's mother owns a chain of supermarkets. He had spent some years in a mental hospital because of pervasive indolence. Hoping that an active task may improve his condition, he is sent ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Sautet
Stars: Daniel Auteuil, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jean-Pierre Marielle
Voleur de vie (1998)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Alda, her sister Olga, and the latter's daughter Sigga live together in an old house facing a cemetery by the sea. Self-assured Alda collects men; Olga shuns them, but cannot help following... See full summary »

Director: Yves Angelo
Stars: Emmanuelle Béart, Sandrine Bonnaire, André Dussollier
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In a small Breton town, a 10-year-old girl is found murdered. René, her art teacher, a professional painter, is the last person to have seen her alive. The inspector in charge of the ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Jacques Gamblin, Antoine de Caunes
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Stars: Michel Simon, Jean Renoir, Jacques Rivette
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Jacques Rivette
Paris s'en va (1981)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Jacques Rivette
Stars: Pierre Clémenti, Bulle Ogier, Pascale Ogier
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Antoine Santana
Stars: Isild Le Besco, Émilie Dequenne, Grégoire Colin
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1979, under the presidency of the city mayor, the people of Pessac elect a virtuous and gracious maiden from amongst the residents, following a tradition that comes from times immemorial.

Director: Jean Eustache
Le cochon (1970)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the French countryside it's the day for peasants to kill a big fat pig. The slaughter goes on for a great part of the day as they work to store 140kg worth of meat.

Directors: Jean-Michel Barjol, Jean Eustache
Numéro zéro (1971)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Director: Jean Eustache
Stars: Boris Eustache, Jean Eustache, Odette Robert
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Sylvie
Jerzy Radziwilowicz ...
Walser
...
Paul
...
Véronique / Ludivine
Françoise Fabian ...
Geneviève
Christine Vouilloz ...
Myriam
Mark Saporta ...
Jules
Sara Louis ...
Carole
Hermine Karagheuz ...
L'infirmière
Bernadette Giraud ...
Marthe
Micheline Herzog ...
Sabine
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patrick Le Bouar ...
Robert
Edit

Storyline

A young biologist (Sylvie) is thrown into confusion when her brother (Paul) tries to persuade her that their father, who fell off a train five years ago, was actually killed by his right hand man (Walser). Walser now runs their father's company. Sylvie is not convinced, but Paul has decided to have his revenge. Written by Thierry Rubis <thb@Yours.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

family relationships

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 March 1998 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Confidencial  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Features Brigands-Chapter VII (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Di perra mora
Music by Pedro Guerrero
Performed by Hespèrion Xx (as Hesperion XX)
Conducted by Jordi Savall
(P) Auvidis-France
extrait de "El cancionero de Medinaceli"
(CD Auvidis-Fontalis E 8764)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A real mind-twister
20 May 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a spectacularly successful mystery film by director Jacques Rivette, who also collaborated on the screenplay. His films always contain long, lingering shots and scenes that seem to go on forever. Sometimes this can be so irritating one wants to scream. For instance, I tried three times to watch his LA BELLE NOISEUSE (1991) and gave up in exasperation each time because it was so boring, so enormously long, and like a vanity exercise. One would therefore think that the last person to make a successful thriller would be Rivette, with his slow pace. But incredibly, with this film, his snail's pace works perfectly and turns the film into a masterpiece. This would have been impossible without the genius actress Sandrine Bonnaire, who plays the lead and monopolizes the screen with complete success. Bonnaire made it clear to the world that she was at a higher level than most actresses in 1985 when she starred in Agnes Varda's extraordinary and searing film, VAGABOND (SANS TOI NI LOI). She is so quiet and meditative that she sucks the audience into the vortex of her thoughts, and carries us right along with her as she swirls with silent, unarticulated torment. She showed this again in the amazing L'EMPREINTE DE L'ANGE (MARK OF AN ANGEL aka ANGEL OF MINE, 2008, see my review). She really is one of the most intense and powerful actresses in the world today. In this film, she plays a cold, introverted, determined woman who has withdrawn into herself and is unable to return affection without the greatest of difficulty. The man who is constantly courting her and assuring her of his feelings is barely noticed by her, so absorbed is she in her own issues, and preoccupied by what is troubling her. 'Secret défense' is the French expression corresponding to 'official secret' in English. It is not necessarily a reference to military defence (British) or military defense (USA). Although Bonnaire's deceased father had been the head of France's largest defence contractor, succeeded by the mysterious figure of Walser, played with appropriate ambiguity by Polish actor Jerzy Radziwilowicz (which by the way means 'son of Radziwil' in Polish), who is so well known to cinema lovers from Andrezj Wajda's classic films MAN OF MARBLE (1977) and MAN OF IRON (1981), these hints of military secrecy flicker in the background like the reflections on a wall in an indoor swimming pool, but never come into focus. This all helps to create the air of menace and conspiracy which pervades this film, and which expresses the French attitude towards the worlds of officialdom, money and power. This film is primarily one of slow realization of what had previously seemed inconceivable to the normal and innocent mind. Bonnaire is brilliant at slowly coming to these realizations before our eyes, in the lingering shots where there is nothing between her face and us but her thoughts. How easily this film could have failed miserably! But she and Rivette together pull it off, almost as a miracle. I was on the edge of my seat for each and every prolonged scene, and never lost patience. The slow pace merely serves to heighten and intensify the unbearable suspense. Somehow Rivette knew the exact instant to cut. As soon as a scene has served its purpose, and been squeezed of the last of its juice, it skin is thrown into the bucket and we reach for the next fruit. I watched this film twice because I wanted to be sure. Yes, it really is a masterpiece of filmmaking. The music at the beginning and the end is viola da gamba music played by Jordi Savall (one of the world's two best gamba players, the other being the younger Paolo Pandolfo). The film's inherent ambiguity and theme of double-appearances is intensified by the acting of the amazing Laure Marsac, who plays identical twin sisters. Both of them are in a perpetual state of volatile and wavering uncertainty. After Bonnaire is informed by her younger brother that he has found evidence that their father had been murdered five years before, and that he was pushed from a train by someone, and did not jump and commit suicide as officially recorded, she receives a curious visit from Marsac, who is Walser's secretary and lover. This is one of the most ambiguous scenes in the film, in which nothing which is intended to be said is actually said by Marsac, and she reluctantly leaves without having made her purpose clear at all. The air of mystery is continually heightened by such devices of the story. Guns are continually being taken out of pockets and put into drawers or desks, and we don't know where they keep coming from. We are constantly aware that they are there, and could be removed and used by one of the many increasingly desperate people in this story. Then one of the twin sisters disappears and suddenly she is seen again by the shocked characters in the story, only to be revealed as the unknown twin whom they had not realized existed. She moves into the country mansion known as 'the Domaine' and assumes the role of her vanished sister. Meanwhile, Bonnaire's desperate younger brother is charging around on his motorbike with his gun, threatening to kill Walser, who he says killed his father in order to take over his company. A photo has mysteriously appeared, we are never told from where, showing Walser with his father on the train platform on the morning of the father's death, contradicting Walser's supposed alibi that he was elsewhere at the time. This film has two parallel stories, like two parallel universes, the false and the true. At how many points do these intersect? And how can truth be separated from illusion in this double world where it is not only sisters who are twins, but events themselves which exist in two forms and which bear an ambiguous and double interpretation?


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Secret Défense grim-15
Discuss Secret Defense (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?