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Paris P. Pickard,
Anthony Michael Jones
An uptight and conservative woman, working on tenure as a literacy professor at a large urban university, finds herself strangely attracted to a free-spirited, liberal woman who works at a local carnival that comes to town.
In The Secrets, two brilliant young women discover their own voices in a repressive orthodox culture where females are forbidden to sing, let alone speak out. Naomi, the studious, devoutly religious daughter of a prominent rabbi, convinces her father to postpone her marriage for a year so that she might study at a Jewish seminary for women in the ancient Kabalistic seat of Safed. Naomi's quest for individuality takes a defiant turn when she befriends Michelle, a free-spirited and equally headstrong fellow student. When the pair encounters a mysterious, ailing foreigner with a disturbing past named Anouk (the iconic French actress Fanny Ardant) they begin a risky journey into forbidden realms. In the hopes of easing her suffering, Naomi and Michelle secretly lead Anouk through a series of Kabalistic cleansing rituals. The process opens up overwhelming new horizons for the girls who find themselves caught between the rigid male establishment they grew up in, and the desire to be true to... Written by
The orthodox religious and studious Jewish Naomi (Ania Bukstein) is the daughter of a prominent rabbi and is promised to marry the arrogant yeshiva student Michael (Guri Alfi). Naomi secretly dreams on becoming a rabbi and after the death of her mother, she succeeds in convincing his father to postpone her marriage and be sent to the traditional Seminary of Knowledge and Truth in the ancient city of Safed in the mountains. The grieving Naomi shares a room with the outcast and free-spirited Michelle (Michal Shtamler) and two other roommates. Naomi and Michelle are assigned by the headmistress to help Anouk (Fanny Ardant), a woman that spent fifteen years in prison for killing her lover, and is terminal with cancer. Anouk asks for the purification Kabalistic ritual Tikkun to reach God, and the girls decide to help her. Meanwhile Naomi falls in love for Michelle and she finds in the Bible that their desire is not considered a sin in the eyes of God. While assisting Anouk, Naomi tries to convince her beloved friend that their relationship is not wrong in a repressive society ruled and judged by men.
"Ha-Sodot" a.k.a. "The Secrets" is a beautiful, sensitive and transgressor romance in a society ruled by conservative rabbis and extremely repressive with women. I immediately recalled Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures" and the platonic love of Juliet Hilme and Pauline Parker. Further, Ania Bukstein and Michal Shtamler slightly resemble Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey in the beginning of their careers. It is engaging to see in 2009 such different society when compared with the western culture, and a director exposing this situation without any judgment or manipulation. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Segredos Íntimos" ("Intimate Secrets")
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