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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Exceptional film about an important time in history!

Author: Tracy Marks from Arlington, MA
15 November 2003

I loved this film. Among the highlights: the cinematography and scenes of Renaissance Venice; the sensitive portrayal of the Jews in hiding trying to maintain their faith; the superb acting of Isabel (Katherine Borowitz); the quiet beauty and expressiveness of the young girl Victoria (what a wonderful young actress, Hannah Taylor-Gordon) ; and the intrigues of the plot that keeps one glued to the screen, waiting to see what happens next. My only criticism was that there was some lack of clarity in what was happening as the plot reached its climax - pertaining to both to the glassmaker and the sister's emotional reactions to each other near the end. But the lack of clarity also keeps one reflecting on the film. All in all, a haunting film which I highly recommend.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful film

7/10
Author: filmhydra from Greece
2 December 2006

I recently saw this movie on TV in Greece.( Dec 06) As I had never heard of it before it was a real surprise. Great costumes, sets and color . The story kept moving along and you had to pay attention. I felt at the end that I wanted more . What happened next ? Is there a sequel ? Was it a series ? The scenes in Venice were amazing in their recreation of the period. Most of these actors I have never heard of and I gather that it is a mainly European cast. The credits ran so fast ( on my TV) that I couldn't catch what nationality the co production was . Czecoslovakian ? The historical aspects were very interesting and there were echos of Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice" in the way the Venictian's applied their trading laws and laws of contract. Very interesting. And yes beautifully filmed.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Important story of the Christian inquisition against Jews

8/10
Author: Nidurino (avdibeg@hotmail.com) from Vejle, Denmark
15 September 2005

Since I know previous works of the Bosnian director Kenovic (Kuduz and The Perfect Circle), I really had high expectations for "Secret Passage". Well, I can say I was not disappointed, au contraire, this movie is really nicely done, from the manuscript, cinematography to acting. I was stunned by Katherine Borowitz who plays Isabel, but also by Hannah Taylor-Gordon who plays Victoria. These two actresses have fantastic expression that adds an extra value to this very good movie. I am glad John Turturro found his place in the movie, because I think he is a great actor with great potential, that could and should be used in projects not usual for his roles. But although he did good job, I believe he was somewhat misplaced in the movie, but I am not sure... maybe because I am used to watch him in more contemporary films.

I loved the story. It shows us how the Jewish were treated in the Christian Europe, when the witch hunt and Inquisition were almost national sports.

Kenovic has great eye for details and aesthetics. The scenes are wonderfully set, and I enjoyed every moment in and around Venice. I can warmly recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in history and beautifully shot films.

It bothers me that Ademir Kenovic does not direct movies more often (his mostly a producer), because he is very talented director.

8 out of 10.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Artistic triumph

9/10
Author: ahaponiev from Kiev, Ukraine
11 June 2005

I had never heard of Ademir Kenovic before this movie, but I was stunned by his abilities. It's possible to pause this fim in hundreds of places to see a masterwork painting in the framing, composition and scenery.

The credits list a battalion of those involved in the scenery, costumes and technical support needed for such a costume drama and no wonder. My main criticism is that, perhaps for reasons of the actors' vanity, frequently the characters did not wear hats or headgear, as they would have done in the 15th century and also often appeared casually dressed in what would have been a very formal society.

The story line is sufficiently complex to hold the attention without being overly convoluted, dealing essentially with the basics of human relationships and fate. The dialogue is sharp and the actors all did a good job.

Very reminiscent of BBC historical drama at its best, with the added bonus of such a talented Bosnian director.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Venetian Affair...

7/10
Author: JRmf from Down Under
21 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An interesting period movie set against the Catholic inquisition against Jews in the late 15th century.

SPOILERS FOLLOWING

That aspect however has relatively little to do with the movie. It is more to do with the wiles of a scheming woman (Isabel - Katherine Borowitz) to steal what was at the time, top secret technology - how Venetian glass was made - and to take it to the outside world, no doubt for a huge profit.

What starts out as a tale of courage and survival in the face of adversity - Isabel is left with the charge of her younger sister Clara (Tara Fitzgerald) while the two are still little girls - ends as a tragedy, with Isabel's execution by drowning. The real tragedy is not that she got caught for her attempted theft, but _how_ she got caught. Betrayed by Clara in a moment of blind rage, range induced by Isabel herself because of the measures she had resorted to, to manipulate her sister into complying with her plan. Better leave some surprises - see the movie for particulars.

It was interesting to see Anton Rodgers, better known to me for his role in the British comedy series Fresh Fields, in the role of villain.

I found it surprising how much IMDb has upgraded the rating above its arithmetic average - with most other movies, its the opposite, a downgrading. Something to do with the small number of votes? I gave it a 6/10.

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