209. Choses Secrètes  (France 2002)

director: Jean-Claude Brisseau

Starring: Sabrina Seyvecou, Coralie Revel, Roger Mirmont, Fabrice Deville

Fact: Brisseau was recently in court for auditioning loads of actresses and asking them to perform one of the many saucy scenes in the film many months after the central casting had been finalised.

The dirty arl get.

 

(Shaggy from Scooby Do voice: "Yoiks! They're like, lezzing up!")

Two penniless young women use their charms to succeed (not a pun) in the world of business.

 Choses Secrètes is a rather sordid little film which is given a veneer of respectability by its classy cast and its high quality 'Cinema du Look' visuals.

Many observers would claim that the film is simply soft-core Frankie with a better than average storyline.

Sandrine (Seyvecou) is sacked from her job in a high-class strip bar when she refuses to whore herself for its slimy owner. She is defended and taken in by  Nathalie (Revel) who loses her job (as stripper/'dancer') in the process.

Nathalie takes Sandrine in and asks her to do saucy things to herself in the name of ‘empowerment’ (really) and then launches her plan to rise to the top of  the business world (a profession chosen at random) by using her feminine ‘wiles’. (Whatever they may be. Older readers may remember West Brom centre half John Wile who posed his way through the second half of the 1978 FA Cup semi-final with a bloodied bandage/bandana thingy wrapped round his head to show the world what a hero he was. And his team lost. To Ipswich . Which just goes to show that what goes around comes around....etc.)

 

After many unlikely plot-related shenanigans, both Natalie and Sandrine join a non-descript Parisian office and proceed to ‘move up the ranks’. Both women find themselves attracted to the sinister boss’s son, Christophe (the aptly named Deville).

 

The young Christophe’s soul was excised from his body after a terrible incident which saw him looking after the dead and decomposing body of his mother after his father had disappeared on business.

Director Brisseau can’t be arsed to show this as a flashback or montage sequence and therefore leaves it up to ageing, mid-life crisis office manager Delacroix (Mirmont – like you care) to relate the most ludicrous back-story in the history of film.

And then loads of preposterous things happen which are quite enjoyable if you’re easily seduced by French cinema and/or like looking at ladies’ shameful parts.

 

Sample Dialogue

Nathalie: Fancy diddling with yourself in public?

Sandrine (gruff Yorkshire): 'appen.

Nathalie: Does that turn you on?

Sandrine: Aye. You can't beat a bit o' Bully.

Choses Secretes can be seen as a less convincing gallic ‘riposte’ to the dreadful Eyes Wide Shut’ or a Machiavellian twist on the far more sensible ‘Dream Life of Angels’.  

So if your wife/ partner catches you ‘washing your willy really quickly’ (without cleaning accoutrements) or indeed ‘trying to retrieve the last pickle from the jar’ (if that’s your ‘bag’), and asks you why you’re watching ‘Lena’*, you can say: “It’s not Lena; it’s director Jean Claude-Brisseau’s gallic riposte to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, or , indeed, (my love), a Machiavellian twist on Erick Zonca’s ‘La Vie Rêvée des Anges’”, as you try to divert her attention from your act of self pollution.

 

* Lena Horne.

 Not Lena Zavaroni, which would be really convoluted rhyming slang for ‘crap’. Which Choses Secrètes most certainly is.  

4/10