Un Amour à Taire (A Love to Hide)
Christian Faure’s A Love to Hide is a deeply powerful film. Set in Paris during the Nazi occupation of France, the film depicts the violent effects the Nazi criminalization of gayness. The story begins with Sara’s (Louise Monot) escape from her home, after Nazi’s have murdered her entire family. Out of desperation she contacts an old friend (and potential love interest), Jean, played with startling effect by Jérémie Renier. Jean convinces his lover, Philippe (Bruno Todeschini), to hide Sara, placing the three characters in an awkward love triangle that eventually leads to a deep friendship. Family politics between Jean and his brother Jacques (Nicolas Gob) lead to Jean’s arrest by Nazis on charges of sexual deviance. The remainder of the film deals with Sarah and Jacques’ attempts to get Jean released.
The narrative itself is dense with emotionally charged with issues of love, jealousy and violence, however, Faure ultimately fails to deliver on the promise of his powerful storyline. The first half of the film is a wonderful depiction of Jean and Philippe’s relationship, the challenges of integrating Sara into their secret world, and the underground queer culture thriving in Paris. With the introduction of Jacques, the film fizzles into little more than soap opera. The film is further strayed after Jean is arrested, shifting its focus onto the blossoming relationship between Sara and Jacques.
Regardless of the narrative flaws, the film retains its effectiveness in the performances of all the lead players. Renier, in particular, depicts with equal sensitivity Jean’s vulnerability and the strength he receives from his love with Philippe. A flawed effort, but noble nonetheless.