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Eva Marie Saint,
Welcome to the Secret Cinema, now featuring a series of films on the real-life misadventures of Jane, a New York City office secretary. See Jane being sexually harassed by her boss, Mr. Troppogrosso. See Jane get dumped by her boyfriend, Dick. See Jane humiliated in lots of ways. And here's the kicker: Jane doesn't know that her life is being filmed, or that she's being set up by some of the people closest to her. But she's starting to have her suspicions...Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
An interesting idea that would have been better had it been played out more and at a feature length instead of just thirty minutes. A young women, who has a very hard luck existence, slowly finds that her whole life is secretly being filmed. The film is then shown at secret locations throughout the city all to the amusement of others including her own friends and family.
With the advent of shows like "Big Brother" and other reality series this idea doesn't seem to have the novel edge that it once did. First time director/writer Bartel only touches the surface here and his 'twist' ending is very derivative and flat. Take away the offbeat context and everything else is handled in a very routine fashion. There is no humor or jokes and despite being only thirty minutes there are several segments that are long and drawn out.
Bartel did this feature on weekends with friends of his. Yet despite it's very miniscule budget it really isn't bad especially on the technical side. In particular are the dubbed voices. Bartel did not have the means to film it with sound so he had to use the Italian technique of filming without sound and then dubbing in the voices later. In the Italian films this always seems very obvious and annoying yet here it is not so obvious and actually rather well done.
This film is good on a certain symbolic level. It seems to be as a kind of breaking in to a deeper, darker type of underground filmmaking. A sort of correlation to what the nation was going through at the time. This film embodies that same type of transition. It was filmed in black and white and has very much the look and feel of a old fashioned conventional comedy. Yet it very quietly works in these strange and offbeat qualities that become more pronounced as it goes on. Sort of like a warning to the dawn of change.
In 1986 director Bartel remade this feature for the old "Amazing Stories" TV show. This updated version was in color and had more of a edge. It starred Penny Peyser and Eve Arden as her mother.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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