“His Secret Life” Film Review – Maddie Tortora

His Secret Life” was released in 2001 and directed by Ferzan Özpetek. The main woman, Antonia, loses her husband, Massimo suddenly. When going through his possesions, she comes across a painting that has a note on the back signed, “The Ignorant Fairy”. She then comes to the realization that Massimo was having an affair. When finding the address, the tenant of the apartment’s name said “Miss Mariani”. The owner of the apartment was actually a man named Micele, and then learns that he and her husband had an affair for seven years. Shocked to know this information, she resents Micele until she listens to advice from her harsh mother. Antonia returns to the household because one of the men living there has AIDS. The home where Micele lives is filled with people who were trying to escape their own families, a transgender and gay/lesbians. Antonia feels that this was Massimo’s real home, he fit in there and was open about his sexuality. She is saddened by this, because his real self was not who she knew and loved.  Antonia and Micele learn the depth of their friendship after finding out they love the same non very well known poet. After becoming close with Micele and his friends, she learns she is pregnant. She decides to go on a journey to experience life on her own and says bye to everyone in the family. In regards to certain issues, sexuality was the most prominent.

In regards to my cinematic experience, the director kept the viewers in mind. I felt that Turkey was portrayed as well as it could have been because it showed two different lives.  Upper middle class was portrayed through Antonia but also the not so wealthy, yet sustainable life that Micele had with his “family”. I did not notice many techniques that stood out to me except for one. When Antonia walked into the apartment building and looked up the stairwell, she saw the people who lived in Micele’s home. Although the women were arguing, it was almost like Antonia was looking up to them without realizing it because they became her way of becoming happy again. Long shots were used often when the whole apartment would sit down for dinner at the long table, and I found this as a good choice for those particular scenes.

The director explores a different side of film that is not portrayed very many times, and this being showing three different men kiss in one of the scenes. Yes, this is accepted, just not something commonly shown. This film shows two different types of love, the old fashioned marriage with Massimo and Antonia and then the new couples emerging between transgender people and gay couple. The director, by taking a new approach, captures the audiences attention as well as multiple film critics.

Movie Cover
Movie Cover

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