Blame It on Fidel
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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 Annas 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, Annas 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 Calamais 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
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Top customer reviews
But ultimately she seems to give in but as the last scene suggests, she becomes accommodating and open in her views and is now ready for the whole wide colored and multidimensional world without any prejudices. It is a beautiful evolution of the child.
Truthfully, the leftist and rightist characters and their respective cliches, as well as the bonus pro-choice advert, were in no way as relevant (or even as fairly portrayed) as how it was the reaction and analysis of a child and adults. The parents are living in an unrealistic dream believing that they are actually helping the Allende regime from Paris. The open their apartment to hairy smoking drinking and late night comunist ideologits and students that all they do is plan and converse on utopic comunism. Anna doesn't understand where her parents are going, but she reminds them that she and her brother are more important to them.
In the end, when she actually changes schools and joins in the circle with the other kids, it is Anna becoming a child again understanding her parents' limitations, forgiving, adapting and caring. What a great movie you should all see it!!!
Doing the growing up is nine-year-old Anna de la Mesa, played with fidelity, wit, and skill beyond her years by Nina Kervel-Bey. She is bourgeois to the core, following the lead of her maternal grandparents, who own a vineyard in Bordeaux, and her favorite nanny and housekeeper who lost everything to the Communists when Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba. Her parents, however, are infatuated with the Left, especially with the rise of Allende to power in Chile. The year is 1970-71.
Anna loves their house and garden and going to Catholic school. She is proper and sensible. When they lose their house, and have to let the nanny go, and end up renting an apartment in Paris, Anna is upset and demands to know why things have changed. When it appears that they don't have as much money, Anna begins turning off the lights and turning down the heat to save money. When they want her to transfer to the public school, she demurs and a compromise is made: she can continue to go to Catholic school but she is not allowed to take Bible studies. So when that time of the day comes, she has to stand up and go outside the classroom door and wait.
But Anna is strong emotionally and intellectually. She questions everything and is not self-conscious about being singled out. The other girls may laugh, but when she gets into a fight with one of them, she manages to win her over afterwards so that they are friends, even though their parents are not.
There is in the background the political disputes between the Right and the Left, between parents who change the subject when the question how babies are made is brought up, and those who tell the truth, in short between the bourgeois and the bohemian. One gets the sense that Gavras and Anna are wiser than the disputants, and that there is something to appreciate in both ways of life.
It is impossible not to identify with little Anna, partially because she herself is so fair, and partially because it is such a thrill to see the psychology of the socialization process displayed so well and true in a movie, but also because Nina Kervel-Bey is such a powerful little actress who was so wondrously directed by Julie Gavras. This is one of the best performances by a preteen actor that I have ever seen. Kervel-Bey simply dominates the film and commands the screen.
Will Anna shed her petite bourgeois ways and embrace the politics of her parents? I highly recommend that you see this film and find out.