7.3/10
677
11 user 22 critic

Secret défense (1998)

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

Director:

Jacques Rivette

Writers:

Pascal Bonitzer (scenario), Emmanuelle Cuau (scenario) | 3 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Sandrine Bonnaire ... Sylvie
Jerzy Radziwilowicz ... Walser
Grégoire Colin ... Paul
Laure Marsac ... Véronique / Ludivine
Françoise Fabian ... Geneviève
Christine Vouilloz Christine Vouilloz ... Myriam
Mark Saporta Mark Saporta ... Jules
Sara Louis Sara Louis ... Carole
Hermine Karagheuz Hermine Karagheuz ... L'infirmière
Bernadette Giraud Bernadette Giraud ... Marthe
Micheline Herzog Micheline Herzog ... Sabine
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patrick Le Bouar Patrick Le Bouar ... Robert
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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 | See All (1) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

1 October 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Confidencial See more »

Filming Locations:

Chagny, Saône-et-Loire, France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

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User Reviews

 
A thoroughly impersonal film
22 January 2011 | by JasonTomesSee all my reviews

But let me concede right away that this is a very personal review. "Secret Defense" has many of the characteristics that usually commend a film to me: it is well acted, it is slow, and it is French! Its milieu is the familiar one of the Parisian "haute bourgeoisie"; the smart city apartment and country château are a little hackneyed perhaps, but attractive all the same. The photography is good. The direction is painstaking. It promises to be an intelligent production.

To be honest, however, I found it very hard to sustain interest in it, and my mind soon wandered to the question of why it so utterly failed to engage me. I think it is because it is not at all concerned with character or personality. I can readily believe the suggestion made by previous reviewers that the film is modelled to some extent on ancient Greek drama. Sylvie, Paul, Walser, and Veronique are toys of the gods, not believable individuals. Their responses to events lack credibility. The central relationship between Sylvie and Walser never convinced me.

It might be argued that the people in "Secret Defense" are simply very cold-blooded. Yet they are hot-blooded enough when it comes to seeking revenge. The film also contains two of the absurdities often noticeable in more popular thrillers: the police simply do not exist in the world depicted, and the characters show no fear and little wariness even when dealing with people whom they suspect of murder.

If your preference is for character-driven drama and realism, you are unlikely to find "Secret Defense" a satisfying experience. And it lasts nearly three hours.


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