Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Blame It on Fidel|
Actors: Nina Kervel-Bey, Julie Depardieu, Stefano Accorsi, Benjamin Feuillet, Martine Chevallier
Director: Julie Gavras
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Caught up in the political revolution sweeping France in the early 1970s, Fernando (Stefano Accorsi) and Marie (Julie Depardieu) reject the comforts of their bourgeois life and dedicate themselves full time to radical acti... more »
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Excellent performances, very fine filmmaking, in this story
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 11/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Young Anna (played by the remarkable Nina Kervel-Bey) has difficulty adapting to the changes in lifestyle forced upon her when her parents give up the comforts of a bourgeois life in order to struggle for women's rights in France and the Chilean revolution of Allende. She demands explanations that the adults around her think she is too young to receive, and which she is then required to supply for herself by piecing together the elements of her experience. This is a very fine film, that traces in both subtle and humorous ways the connections between familial ties and political convictions, and the impact of a parent's activism on the lives of children.
It is also, unlike many films that explore similar territory, at bottom a comedy -- both in the broad sense that the upheavals the film traces are thrown upon its characters by circumstance and result ultimately in things working themselves out, and in the more specific sense that it is filled with humorous moments rooted in the misconceptions of a precocious child about the nature of the convictions that dominate her parents lives. The humor and ultimate resolution of the film, however, does not arrive without passing through the awareness of many tragic moments and serious issues. Still, all of this is seen from the point of view of a child -- and the film's greatest strength lies in its rigorous adoption of the viewpoint of the child. The camera work in particular is both remarkable and subtle, and gives the impression of a child's take on the world without resorting to the awkwardness of strict point of view shots -- what it lingers on, how it frames its attention, all suggest the very specific interests of the very precocious Anna. This approach of sharing the child's questioning perspective on events allows the filmmakers to explore, without being didactic, many of the contradictions and confusions of politics and activism, and in particular of the activism that followed in France on the student riots of 1968: the conflict and overlap of communist solidarity and fascistic conformity, the tension between political struggles for liberation and women's struggles for reproductive freedom, the right to property and the pursuit of prosperity in opposition to the demand for equal access to resources, and religious versus political convicion.
While the film is unrated, there is very little in the way of actual violence or other objectionable material on screen -- though there is talk regarding sensitive subjects like abortion and political violence. The film would be very appropriate for young people who finds themselves asking some of the same kinds of questions about the contradictions of politics and life as Anna asks in the film."
Political Upheavals from a Child's Vantage
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BLAME IT ON FIDEL! ('La Faute à Fidel!) is an enlightening film from France's fine director Julie Gavras, a story based on the novel 'Tutta colpa di Fidel' by Domitilla Calamai that addresses the effect of major political, philosophical, and activist effects on children. What makes this fine film unique is the child's stance on the adult politics: what may seem like exciting challenges for change of an existing corrupt system for the adults may indeed be an unwanted rearrangement of the wants and needs of children whose political acumen is less advanced than the need for order and consistency in everyday life.
The story takes place in Paris in 1970 - 1971. 9-year-old Anna de la Mesa (Nina Kervel-Bey) is a bright child who loves the divinity aspects of her Catholic school and enjoys the wealthy bourgeois elegance that surrounds her. She and her little brother François (Benjamin Feuillet) are informed that their aunt, an anti-Franco activist from Spain, will be moving in with Anna and her parents Fernando (Stefano Accorsi) and Marie (Julie Depardieu). This critical move incites a change in philosophy for Anna's parents and soon they become enchanted with the rise of Allende in Chile and embrace the Socialist mindset and the promised feminist movement changes, moving from their elegant house into a small apartment and demanding that Anna give up her divinity studies 'because the are against Communist thought'. As liaison in France for Chilean activists, Fernando holds strange and frequent meetings, disturbing further the life Anna loves. While little François is able to go along with the life changes, Anna rebels and refuses to alter her goals and needs merely for the 'fad' of her father's frequent trips to Chile while leaving behind her mother to continue writing articles for the ('bourgeois') French magazine Marie-Claire! As the political upheavals increase Anna is more pugnacious in demanding her rights and the finest moments of the story demonstrate how a child can respond to political change and still find her 'place' in the world that she chooses!
The pacing of the film is fast and captures the exhilaration of the foment 'round the world in the early 1970s. The cast is excellent, especially the children who have not had prior exposure to acting. The message is a potent one that deserves our attention both as informative of a political era and as a piece of veritas cinema from a fine director and crew. In French and Spanish with English subtitles. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 07
Bravo and Venceremos!
Curtis Steinmetz | just outside the beltway | 12/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Blame it on Fidel" is the best kind of political film. Hardly "objective" it nevertheless completely avoids hitting the viewer over the head with hamfisted polemics. The "leftist" characters are all portrayed in a way that is sympathetic but never two-dimensional - while the "rightist" characters are all portrayed in a way that respects their humanity - while revealing the problems with their politics. Of course this is true most of all of the main character, little Anna - who charmingly prefers her previously privileged "good life" to the sacrifices that result from her parents embrace of radical political causes. Most amazingly of all, we watch as Director Gavras almost miraculously and seamlessly allows Anna to slowly (and completely convincingly) do a little radicalizing herself.
Both Anna and her little brother, Francois, are the cutest little red diaper babies to ever hit the big screen. Francois, by the way, takes up the red banner far more quickly and enthusiastically than his big sister. One of the key scenes is when Anna has invited a school friend over - the friend is horrified by the smallness of their apartment, the wierdness of their food, the strange people having endless meetings in the living room, etc. Little Francois has an answer for everything though (for example - he prefers sleeping in the same room with his sister to sleeping alone in his own room). Anna can't help but smile proudly at Francois as he defends their family against the bourgeois philistinism of Anna's school friend.
The film even manages to have very thoughtful subplots on abortion and comparative religion! Seriously - this is a true work of genius. Every single character is brilliantly acted, the writing is wonderful - the music is great, the cinematography is beautiful."
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right.....
Archmaker | California | 08/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Little Anna is stuck in the middle between conservative bourgeoise grandparents, Catholic school friends and teachers, and her increasingly radicalized parents in 1970's Paris, and she doesn't like it one little bit.
Centered on an astonishing portrayal by young Nina Kervel-Bey, her defiant Anna with her pugnacious chin jutting-out fearlessly faces the various forces swirling around her with justifiable frustration and anger at the upset and turmoil created in her young life by neglectful parents caught up in their leftist political passions and the likewise estrangement from the conervative foundations of her previously privileged life. Her spirit is undiminished however as she faces them all down with wit and preternatural common sense, asking the difficult question and demanding attention and respect. This little girl is wonderfully expressive and impressive and Gravas has elicited a marvelous performance from her.
While I assume Gravas sympathies probably lie with the politics of the parents, she is very even-handed in her depiction of all sides and is never polemical but instead finds the humanity in all. Being the daughter of a famously political director herself, she must have brought great understanding to the confusion and anger of a young child who could care less about politics but experiences only absent and distracted parents and a comfortable life overthrown for passions and principles she does not understand and is very perceptive in pricking the pretensions of while revealing the confusion in the adults around her.
A very fine film, well acted by all, but little Nina is the whole show and for one so small and lovely to dominate and carry a film of this depth with such ferocious confidence and humor is a tribute to the wee actor and her director and is well worth anyone's time."