Secrets Of The Heart review

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With a title like this, it's a wonder that Secrets Of The Heart isn't some lusty melodrama, styled after Pedro Almodovar. In fact, Montxo Armendariz's 1997 Berlin Film Festival prize-winner is actually a subtle rites-of-passage tale set in 1960's Spain.

Young Javi (Andoni Erburu) not only lives between his widowed mother and his lonely aunts, but his inquisitive mind is also torn between the adult world, with its secret loves and suicides, and a taste for his brother's talk of haunted houses, girls and "humping".

It's no surprise that the poor boy gets sex and death muddled, and this predictability is Secrets Of The Heart's chief flaw. But if its growing pains schtick lacks the uniquely scuffed cine-poetry of, say, Ratcatcher, it's still warmly told. Winning performances and a suitably unsentimental wit are its saving graces, the latter best seen when a young girl takes sly fiscal advantage of Javi's lust for knowledge. Sweet.

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