Saturday, September 21, 2013

Blame it on Fidel

The bureau chief really likes this 2006 French film (La faute à Fidel) by Julie Gavras. When we first meet our nine-year-old heroine, Anna, she's not a very likable child. The influence of her Cuban refugee nanny and her conservative Catholic grand parents have turned her into a miniature right-wing snob. She's at a family wedding and is browbeating the other children into eating their oranges with a knife and fork, like proper people. Her political and social stances are particularly ironic since her parents, Parisian professionals, are moving further and further to the left. This is the early 1970s and her father has become a strong supporter of the Allende government in Chile, while her mother is working for abortion rights in France.

Anna has a will of steel but, like all children, has no autonomy and is forced to be pragmatic when the things around her start to change. The whole cast is excellent and Nina Kervel-Bey is wonderful as Anna.

Julie Gavras knows about growing up with leftist parents since her father is Costa-Gavras. She has made a film with a perfect balance of comedy and drama. I recommend it.

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