Judith van den Heuvel (Photomaton)


In the course of frequent visits to Holland in the early 1990s, Gruber develops his film SECRET MOMENTS with the aim of casting light on the darker secrets of eroticism. He follows up all his leads, one resulting in an encounter with Henrikus Tijssen, the biggest producer of pornography in Europe, whom he interviews – also talking to pornography consumers, erotic models, a necrophiliac man and figures from the night life of Amsterdam.
This is all linked in with a search for the leading lady of the film. In order to find her, the film maker organises a big public casting in Amsterdam.
But when Gruber is ready to start filming a year later, his favourite candidate has disappeared without trace, and he has to opt for another actress.
In the end, the film maker has not found his ideal leading lady, nor has he succeeded in deciphering the secret of eroticism.
One conclusion resulting from his film investigation, though, is – in a free paraphrase from Georges Bataille – that ‘eroticism can only happen in secret, it cannot be a public phenomenon’.

While filming was still going on, the European media environment underwent drastic changes. The previously unchallenged monopoly of national broadcasting stations was broken: private broadcasting companies started to spring up like mushrooms. The competition was merciless. Viewing statistics were now being clocked up above all by broadcasts featuring sex and erotic themes. As it only involved a modicum of naked flesh, Gruber’s film work lacked sensation value and the television companies showed little interest. Gruber decided to leave his film unfinished.

Only some 15 later did the former co-producer, Swiss Television, ask him to complete the film after all.
The film was recut, with the original material giving rise to reflections on social changes in relation to eroticism and love, not to mention changes in the author’s own point of view.

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