Secret Things

I've watched this 2002 French drama twice, and I still can't decide whether it's a masterpiece of sexual provocation or just a really classy stroke film. Either way, I have to admire writer-director Jean-Claude Brisseau's audacity in managing to combine a steady stream of soft-core lesbian porn with an operatic sense of evil that recalls his hero Fritz Lang. As critic Brent Simon has noted, the story inverts the gender dynamic of Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men, as two female sexual renegades (Sabrina Seyvecou and Coralie Revel) join a venerable Parisian company and use their erotic power to climb the corporate ladder. They destroy a sober family man on one of the upper rungs, but standing above him is the pretty-boy heir to the company, who turns out to be the prince of darkness. In French with subtitles. 115 min.

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