Blame it on Fidel
Director: Julie Gravas
Cast: Nina Kervel-Bey, Julie Depardieu, Stefano Accorsi, Benjamin Feuillet
Playing at: Cinema Village, E.12th St, New York, NY (as of September 3, 2007)
Blame it on Fidel is a welcome antidote to the tsunami of trashy Bollywood movies that we’ve been drowning in this year.
Chak De India, Partner, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Shakalaka Boom Boom, Shootout at Lokhandwala – our patience has been sorely tried from watching all this garbage flowing out of the Bollywood sewers this year.
Just when we thought our long nightmare would never end, comes along an amazingly well-made French movie called Blame it on Fidel (La Faute Fidel), a debut film from Julie Gravas.
Don’t worry if French is all Greek to you. Blame it on Fidel has English subtitles.
The highlight of Blame it on Fidel is an extraordinary performance from young girl Nina Kervel-Bey as the nine-year-old Anna caught up in the whirlwind of her parents’ leftist political activities.
As the feisty Parisian school girl, Nina Kervel-Bey turns in an astounding performance that should make our Bollywood bozos cringe with embarrassment.
Forget child actors in Bollywood – they are just plain awful in any case. Nina Kervel-Bey makes Bollywood veterans like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan and the Aishwaryas, Kareenas and Priyankas look like rank amateurs.
Whether she is arguing angrily with her parents about being uprooted from their spacious home with a garden to a cramped apartment or displaying a shy smile on the rare occasion, Nina Kervel-Bey is a joy to behold on the screen.
Set in 1970-71, Blame it on Fidel is the fine story of the impact on Anna when her upper middle class parents are caught in the leftist fervor of helping the poor in Chile. Her journalist mother Marie (Julie Depardieu) is also busy writing a book on abortion.
Anna is bombarded by contradictory ideologies – her Cuban nanny is vehemently anti-communist and anti-Fidel Castro, her parents and their friends are leftist while her rich grandparents support the existing order. And the young girl attends a Catholic school run by nuns.
Anna even attends divinity classes until her parents yank her out of religious education much to her resentment.
Benjamin Feuillet, who plays Anna’s younger brother Francois is a charmer too though he is better able to adjust to the changes in their lives.
Blame it on Fidel is the richly rewarding surprise of this summer.
Daughter of the famed maker of political movies Costa Gravas (maker of fine movies like the Oscar winner Missing and Z), director Julie Gravas has delivered one of the most enjoyable movies of 2007 in Blame it on Fidel.
To visit Blame it on Fidel’s web site, click here.
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