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Blame It on Fidel

18 customer reviews

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(Nov 06, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 activism. This comes as a shock to their precocious nine year-old daughter, Anna (Nina Kervel), who struggles to understand her parents’ newfound ideals. Brilliantly told from Anna’s perspective, this critically-acclaimed film by Julie Gavras captures the coming-of-age moment when children realize the contradictions of adulthood and have to make their own choices.

Includes over 70 minutes of bonus features including:
Making-of Featurette, Behind-the-Scenes Segments, Deleted Scenes (presented by the director)

Warm-hearted and even-handed, this sly political satire centers on Anna (Nina Kervel-Bey), a nine-year-old French girl accustomed to comfort and routine. In 1970, when her attorney father, Fernando (Stefano Accorsi), takes in his Spanish refugee sister, Anna’s tightly-conscripted world starts to unravel. The process accelerates when he and her journalist mother, Marie (Julie Depardieu, daughter of Gérard), take a fact-finding trip to Chile. Upon their return, Fernando has a beard--just like Fidel Castro--and both have embraced activism. This necessitates a move from bourgeois house to proletariat apartment as they dedicate their lives to the disenfranchised. It also means less time for Anna and her urchin-cute brother, François (Benjamin Feuillet). She decides "Fidel is to blame." Still, things could be worse. They may be opposed to it, but her parents allow her to continue attending private school, though her father jokes she's a "little mummy," i.e. Chilean slang for reactionary. (He also believes Mickey Mouse is a fascist.) In adapting Domitilla Calamai’s novel, documentary filmmaker Julie Gavras, daughter of left-wing director Costa-Gavras, presents her first feature from a child's perspective, but that doesn't mean she takes Anna's side. Just as Anna can't see the good in altruism--or tell the difference between conformity and solidarity--her family's plunge into radical politics is understandably upsetting (especially when they take her to a demonstration that turns violent). And yet, by not following them blindly, Gavras suggests that Anna is a rebel, too. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Nina Kervel-Bey, Julie Depardieu, Stefano Accorsi, Benjamin Feuillet, Martine Chevallier
  • Directors: Julie Gavras
  • Writers: Julie Gavras, Arnaud Cathrine, Domitilla Calamai
  • Producers: Mathieu Bompoint, Sylvie Pialat
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000V1Y47I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,655 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Blame It on Fidel" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Archmaker VINE VOICE on August 23, 2008
Format: DVD
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.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 7, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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