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L'enfant secret (1979)

Four chapters based on the birth of a 'secret child', or a film, with chapter titles: "La séction Césarienne" (Caesarian section: a descriptive detail introducing the mother); "Le dernier ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
... Elie
Henri de Maublanc ... Jean-Baptiste
Xuan Lindenmeyer ... Swann, Elie's child
Cécile Le Bailly ... Chloé
... The whore
... Psychiatric patient
Christian Päffgen ... Boy (as Ari Päffgen)
Eliane Roy ... Jean-Baptiste's mother
Bambou
Edwige ... La prostituée (as Edwige Gruss)
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Storyline

Four chapters based on the birth of a 'secret child', or a film, with chapter titles: "La séction Césarienne" (Caesarian section: a descriptive detail introducing the mother); "Le dernier guerrier" (the last warrior: how the father sees himself); "Le cercle ophydique" (the serpent's closed circle: the couple reunites at the psychiatric ward); "Les forêts désenchantées" (unfairy forests: the film in the making). Written by Artemis-9

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anthology | independent film | See All (2) »

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Drama

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Release Date:

18 October 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das verheimlichte Kind  »

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1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Élie: His father is an actor. I went to see him on the set of a film shortly after giving birth, and he said he would recognize the child, but he never did, and I never saw him again.
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Connections

Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Les signes parmi nous (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE SECRET SON visualizes a disarming and poetic rhythm with its vintage, grained quality, and a deceptively veiled insouciance
28 June 2018 | by See all my reviews

It is never to late to enroll in the Philippe Garrel school, a SIFF screening of his under-seen juvenilia THE SECRET SON, made when he was 31, premiered in 1979 but only officially released in 1982, this Black-and-White curio stars Godard muse Anne Wiazemsky as a single mother Elie, who strikes a relationship with Jean-Bapiste (de Maublanc), a young filmmaker.

The story is played out in four chapters: Caesarian Section, The Last Warrior, The Serpent's Closed Circle and Unfairy Forests, and nominally, the titular son refers to Swann (Lundenmeyer), Elie's illegitimate son with an actor, who refuses to initiate his parental role, and has long been out of the picture. Tentative interactions take place in intimate surroundings (mostly indoors), but incoherency is pervading every nook and cranny here, Garrel offers no access to the pair's inner states on top of their laconic wording and enigmatic, brooding miens, preponderantly set on automatic pilot.

Garrel punctuates the film's desultory narrative and experimental complexion with static, protracted long takes, perversely resist a viewer's wonted habit, to a frequently wearing effect. That said, THE SECRET SON visualizes a disarming and poetic rhythm with its vintage, grained quality, and a deceptively veiled insouciance, through many a loosely-connected plot, may it be Jean-Bapiste's electric shock therapy, Elie's drug addiction or bereavement, a moody deconstruction of our species' ever-uncomprehending psychology.

It must be an acquired taste to savor Garrel's free-associative, intelligent, yet beguilingly evasive modus operandi, and THE SECRET SON might be less an apposite open sesame than a piquant amuse-gueule, but at the end of the day, Faton Cahen's euphonious piano cadenza alone is worth audience's while.


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