The Secret Cinema  

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"A young woman named Jane who begins to suspect that her boyfriend and her office associates are conspiring to make a film of her daily life that is being shown in a downtown theater on Saturday nights, for the cruel amusement of the in-crowd. She assumes at first that she must be suffering from paranoid delusions. But when she tries to discuss the problem with her shrink, she discovers that he is in fact the producer of the secret movie." --Truman's Secret by David Chute From the Los Angeles Times, June 8, 1998.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Secret Cinema is a short black-and-white film produced, written, and directed by Paul Bartel, and released in 1968.


Plot summary

Jane (Amy Vane) is a secretary who doesn't know that her life is being filmed and shown in theaters, or that those who are closest to her are in on it. She's being sexually harassed by her corpulent boss (Gordon Felio), humiliated by her fey boyfriend, given the gaslight treatment by the people around her, et cetera, and she doesn't know why... but she's starting to suspect that something isn't quite right.


It has often been imitated, notably by the Peter Weir picture, The Truman Show as well as having been referenced in several of David Lynch's films, particularly the self-reflexive Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE.


  • In 1986, Paul Bartel remade the film as an episode of Amazing Stories (season 1, episode 20), in which Bartel also played a part.
  • This film has been released on videocassette by Rhino Entertainment, packaged with a 7-minute erotic short entitled The Naughty Nurse.
  • In 1998, the premise of someone's life being secretly filmed was used in The Truman Show.
  • In 2012 The Secret Cinema, along with The Naughty Nurse, was released as a bonus feature on The Criterion Collection's Blu-ray release of Eating Raoul.


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Secret Cinema" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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