The Secret Cinema (1968)

All the world is a stage, but only some people are in the movies.

All the world is a stage, but only some people are in the movies.

There is something both magical and inspirational about a filmmaker who circumvents the system and finds a way to deliver their original voice to the big screen. Shot on weekends with equipment and film stock ‘borrowed’ from a television ad agency, Paul Bartel’s The Secret Cinema tells the story of a young woman who believes her entire life is secretly being filmed. The exploits of Jane are a major sensation with all of her friends. Even her own mother comes out to see what misfortunes Jane will encounter next. Unable to secure proof of her theory, Jane quickly goes insane as whispers and clues solidify her speculation. IfThe Secret Cinema sounds like The Truman Show it is worth noting that Bartel’s story predated The Truman Show by several decades. I am was moved by the paranoia portrayed in Bartel’s film and at an economical 28 minutes, I am more impressed with him ability to craft a well-constructed, entertaining and thought provoking short on a shoe string budget. Mark another victory for David over Goliath.

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