A Love To Hide Review
Made for French television, but with a big screen sensibility, Christian Faure’s A Love to Hide (2005) tackles an emotive and controversial subject, one that has been largely glossed over in other films about Nazi atrocities committed during the war – the treatment of the French homosexual community. When French cinema is only now coming to terms with the murky subject of collaboration during the Nazi occupation to varying degrees of success in films such as Laissez-Passer, A Secret and One Day You’ll Understand, the subject of Faure’s film adds another level of complications to a dark period in the nation’s history.
Despite the risks, Jean (Jérémie Rénier) is sheltering a young Jewish girl, Sara (Louise Monot), a former childhood sweetheart whose family have been murdered by the Nazis. She’s staying at the apartment of his lover Philippe (Bruno Todeschini), a relationship that both men have to keep secret in these dangerous times. However Jean’s brother Jacques (Nicolas Gob) – a black-marketeer who is using the family laundry business to identify and raid empty houses of Jewish families that have been rounded up and deported – discovers what is going on and their secret threatens to expose them all.
A Love To Hide manages to convey the complicated nature of this war-time situation well, realising that sides have to be taken, and that it’s more than just a matter of being a collaborator or part of the resistance – personal issues and petty jealousies are dragged into the question, and there are also those who see the German occupation simply as an opportunity for personal gain. Faure takes the time to establish real characters rather than types, and doesn’t always succeed - the motivations of Jacques and Sara’s feelings for Jean seeming more directed by the need to create dramatic conflict - but in the context of the period there could well be a degree of truth to their actions. Anyone who has had to deal with prejudice for their sexuality will probably relate even greater to the film’s strong reminder of where such hatred can lead, but even for the outside observer, A Love To Hide certainly succeeds in highlighting the human issues and the high stakes involved.
The Disc: The film is presented in its original 16:9 (1.75:1) made-for-TV ratio, anamorphically enhanced. The image is a little soft and slightly over-heated in its colouration, but for the most part it looks impressive by Standard Definition standards. There are no real problems at all with the print or transfer. A Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track makes strong use of the surrounds for the music score and occasional effects, while the centre channel dialogue is always perfectly clear. Optional English subtitles are in a clear white font. There are no extra features other than the usual catalogue of trailers.