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An Open Secret: Cannes Review

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On Tuesday evening, the documentary An Open Secret by Amy Berg (Deliver us from Evil, West of Memphis) was shown in Cannes. Three times before it was supposed to be shown at festivals, only to be cancelled again. Why? Maybe because it is showing us something that Hollywood doesn’t want us to see.
The documentary starts with a scene from Diff’rent Strokes that shows us how Arnold (Gary Coleman) is being groomed by a paedophile, mister Horton. Sadly enough Todd Bridges, who played Arnold’s brother Willis, was at that time a victim of sexual abuse himself, the perp being his publicist…

The documentary starts with a scene from Diff’rent Strokes that shows us how Arnold (Gary Coleman) is being groomed by a paedophile, mister Horton. Sadly enough Todd Bridges, who played Arnold’s brother Willis, was at that time a victim of sexual abuse himself, the perp being his publicist…

In the middle brave Evan, who managed to get a taped confession from his abuser.

In the middle brave Evan, who managed to get a taped confession from his abuser.

In An Open Secret, more stories unfold and more open secrets are shared. Like Mark’s story, Evan’s story and Joey’s story. All the men in the movie once, when they were still children, pursued dreams of singing, acting and modelling, but were caught in the web of a paedophile who unfortunately was their manager, agent, producer or director. Some of them actually encountered a entire paedophile ring of wealthy and influential Hollywood men: directors, producers and investors. Not doing what they wanted, meant: no career.

As the victims try to come to terms with whatever happened to them, some turn to drugs and alcohol. Others just give up their dreams. Because of the abuse they simply don’t like what they did anymore.

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Evan wanted to pursue the truth. He decided to out the man who abused him for years (Marty Weiss) and managed to get a confession on tape while sitting in a car with him. During the press conference GrungeCake asked Evan if he wasn’t scared.

“Yes, I was very scared the tape recorder would beep. I knew that if I taped a confession it could be admissable in court, but I also knew you were not supposed to secretly tape conversations. But I needed people to believe me, I needed closure. That was more important to me than fear.”

An Open Secret is a documentary that has to be seen. Sometimes it is a bit messy, there are so many people who are telling their story that it almost resembles a Russian novel, but then again, these people need to be heard. Besides the interesting story lines, the documentary provides shocking insight into the darker side of Hollywood. Last but not least, it sends a warning to parents of children who want to enter the entertainment industry.


For more about Cannes Film Festival, just click here.