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Blame It on Fidel (2006)

Nina Kervel-Bey , Julie Depardieu , Julie Gavras  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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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 (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000V1Y47I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,467 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Blame It on Fidel" on IMDb

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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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right..... August 23, 2008
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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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo and Venceremos! December 2, 2007
"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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Marxist drivel
Pure communist propaganda. Movie jacket says hilarious and charming...not one thing in this movie was funny. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Farm girl
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific movie for its artistic qualities
A terrific movie for its artistic qualities. In addition, it is also a great depicton of child developmental issues.
Highly recommended.
Published 20 months ago by Uzi I. Ben-Ami
4.0 out of 5 stars When changing the world was fun
As an individual who experienced both Franco's Spain and Allende's Chile, I found this film to be a trip down Revolution Road. Read more
Published on June 16, 2011 by curlyitty8
5.0 out of 5 stars Blame it on Fidel
Great Movie! I've seen it at least 4 times. I personally can relate to this movie as my child hood has haunting similarities, but I wounder if some may not be able to relate as... Read more
Published on June 16, 2010 by Jeff
2.0 out of 5 stars interesting on different levels
[...]. The Marxist radicals are portrayed sympathetically while the nuns at the girls private school are portrayed as cold and rigidly authoritarian, the usual stereotype of the... Read more
Published on January 2, 2010 by Cold toes
5.0 out of 5 stars have doubts, will survive
I think the movie is all about the child protagonist. How she is forcefully weaned away from one ideology to another purely on the whims of her parents. Read more
Published on December 24, 2009 by Suresh C. Kari
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant insight into a *real* child's mind and emotions!
This film shows just how smart and curious real children are as they try to make sense of a very complex world. Read more
Published on March 22, 2009 by greatfilms fan
4.0 out of 5 stars seen through the eyes of a child
Set in the politically turbulent Paris of the 1970s, "Blame it on Fidel" tells of a sheltered young girl who has her comfortable bourgeois existence ripped away from her after her... Read more
Published on November 28, 2008 by Roland E. Zwick
5.0 out of 5 stars overall a great film
I enjoyed this film very much. The young girl has such a natural talent that she makes the movie! I recommend watching this movie.
Published on September 3, 2008 by Kirsten E. Walker
3.0 out of 5 stars He who shall teach the child to doubt, the rotting grave will ne'er...
Nina Kervel-Bey, the young star of this movie, is a gifted actress who gives a marvelous performance. Read more
Published on August 27, 2008 by BrianB
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