A SECRET (Claude Miller, 2007)

Juggling nonsequentially several different time-frames, Claude Miller’s Un secret, drawn from an autobiographical novel by Philippe Grimbert, is tricky, slippery and exceedingly hard to follow. It is therefore understandable that so many reviewers have gotten wrong a pivotal piece of plot. Miller’s film, like Grimbert’s Memory, involves the hidden Jewish identity of a tailor and […]

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (Mike Leigh, 2008)

Writer-director Mike Leigh’s sarcastically titled Happy-Go-Lucky opens expansively, with a spectacular sense of joy and freedom: Poppy is riding her bicycle on a North London street. She ebulliently fills the center of a wide-angle shot; in short order, her bicycle (offscreen) is stolen. Thereafter, Poppy occupies mostly frames suggesting order, regimentation, confinement, entrapment.      Poppy—Pauline—is a […]