Image courtesty Knight Productions

Title: Secrets: The Director’s Cut
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Production Company: Knight Productions

Last November I reviewed Kemal Yildirim’s film, Secrets (review is here). Now, with The Director’s Cut I’ve been scratching my head over what to say. The two movies are strangely similar but somehow miles apart.

The closest analogy I can come up with is a stereo signal. Have you ever listened to a favorite song through just one stereo channel, with the other one muted? That might sound okay to most listeners. But to anyone loving that song, something’s not quite right (Try it with Sgt. Peppers and you’ll see what I mean).

Also, I’m not the same guy who wrote about Secrets last November. My perspective on life has evolved during the past three months, so my resonance with the film has likewise shifted.

This review, then, is something of a completion, sort of like the yin-yang symbol. I’ve seen both sides and, today, am coming from a different angle. You can look over my first review (here) before going any further. Otherwise, what follows probably won’t make much sense.

So… The Director’s Cut.

Well, to begin, some longer scenes are clipped for faster pacing, others are deleted. On the whole, these edits are a good move. The original film was provocative, partly because it challenged some of my cultural expectations about filmmaking. I was able to shift gears and appreciate Secrets for what it is (just as I did, for instance, with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey). But, again, The Director’s Cut moves faster. And since I’m to some extent a socially conditioned creature, this works better for me.

In addition, some new scenes – and snippets of scenes – are interspersed throughout The Director’s Cut, making this revamped Secrets feel a bit more fleshed out and humane than its predecessor.

Moving toward the close, a prominent part of the first film (where characters privately confess into a video cam) is completely axed. Quite a gutsy move, and an effective one.

My November review also says I couldn’t really identify with the characters. But for some reason, I was right “in there” this time around. Did I feel for the characters more because of the extensive editing, or was it more about me and my updated outlook?

I can’t be totally sure. And that’s okay. Because both versions of Secrets are all about ambiguity. The film’s twisting storyline leaves just as many questions as answers. And its character development takes place within a tight-knit circle of increasingly confused relationships, where friends become lovers and lovers friends.

The Directors Cut‘s portrays a curious mix of merrymaking, musing and mayhem. But among this, the timeless capacity for joy and sorrow stands out crystal clear. And this might be the keystone that connects this vibrant indie film to a larger audience.