Two young women find themselves struggling to survive in Paris, street-wise Nathalie, a stripper, and naïve Sandrine, a barmaid. Together, they discover that sex can be used to their ... See full summary »
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María Luisa García,
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Two young women find themselves struggling to survive in Paris, street-wise Nathalie, a stripper, and naïve Sandrine, a barmaid. Together, they discover that sex can be used to their advantage, and pleasure. Both find positions in the office of a large bank, where bored, under-stimulated, prey are easy pickings. After making their way though several layers of executives at the bank, with destructive, and lucrative, results, they approach Christophe, scion to the bank director. What they don't know is that Christophe is a manipulative voyeur, whose last two lovers set themselves on fire when he rejected them. A connoisseur of high-class orgies, Christophe is only interested in new talent to satisfy the appetites of all whom he controls. In Christophe, the girls have found an opponent who knows all their wiles, and will challenge their simple under-class friendship with levels of jealousy and ecstasy that they have never experienced before. Will they survive? Written by
Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2002 (#01, with "Ten") See more »
The end of the movie is supposed to take place after Nathalie is released from prison, several years after the main plot takes place. Yet the movies advertised on the advertisement pillar in the background (See Spot Run, Town & Country) were released in France around the same weeks as the movies referenced in the main plot's time frame (Sleepwalker etc.). See more »
The opening scene in Secret Things slams you with its voyeuristic impact suggesting that this is a soft-porn exploitation in someone's private bedroom; however, the scene turns out to be an autoerotic exhibition onstage in a bar in Paris. Nathalie (Coralie Revel) is a gorgeous exotic dancer headlining in a dank bar in Paris. She is fired after a tiff with the calloused owner together with a naïve bartender Sandrine (Sabrina Seyvecou). The two ladies vow not to be used by men again. Nathalie encourages Sandrine to loosen her sexual inhibitions to get more out of life. She instructs Sandrine how to awaken her sexuality both in the bedroom and at public places such as a tunnel in the Metro. The pair decides to room together and scheme on how they will better their lot in life by using men to climb the ladder of success and become free spirits.
After the ladies land a job at the same firm, they plot on how to advance their positions using their sensuality as a manipulative tool. Nathalie quickly maneuvers a job as personnel assistant and Sandrina is now an executive secretary. Sandrina, currently an apt pupil in sexual prowess, manages to manipulate her superiors until she finally lands a position as secretary to the main supervisor. This formerly monogamous married man, who is twice Sandrine's age, falls madly in love with her to his detriment as they secretly hump their way across the screen both on the job and at other more acceptable venues. Sandrine flagrantly uses him to advance her career, yet plans on dumping him once she conquers the young CEO, a handsome and clever womanizer.
As the affair with her boss hardens, she begins to back off and he becomes more desperate to possess her. Nathalie on the other hand has fallen hard for an unrevealed lover, who apparently has dumped her. Sandrine attempts to console Nathalie and ultimately winds up in the sack with her. Now the plot begins to deteriorate as the newfound freedom they were both relishing begins to erode. Trapped by the amorous attention of her boss, Sandrine now imposes upon him to promote Nathalie to their office where they eventually indulge in a ménage à trois. This scenario further crumbles when the three are discovered in hot embrace in the restroom by the young stud of a CEO, who is even more Machiavellian than they are.
The plot now totally disintegrates into a banquet of ruthlessness, group sex, lesbian sex, three-way sex, and masturbation. Our heroines, now suffering much more than they did before they decided upon their quest to manipulate men, go along with the bizarre program foisted upon them. The story unfolds into some off the wall twists and unexpected ironies. However, when mixed with the continual bombardment of sexual exploitation, it adds little to the theme of the story. The film appears to take away more than it provides.
The first three quarters of the film are fun and interesting as we observe the women taking charge of their lives and maneuvering through office politics. The movie eventually falls apart dropping to the level of a soft-core porn movie, without rhyme or reason until the plot regresses to something secondary to the sexploitations. The director, Jean-Claude Brisseau presents quite a banquet of sexuality, turning on both men and women audiences throughout the film, while maintaining a nice balance of story and visual indulgence. This picture, in French with English subtitles, is deftly crafted so that you easily forget that you are reading everything instead of listening to the dialogue. Nathalie is so stunning and sexual on the screen that it is by itself well worth the price of admission. It is too bad the story falls apart in the third act; nevertheless, I would still recommend it for its visual arousing energy and remarkable premise.
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