Blame it on Fidel! (3 stars)

Blame it on Fidel!

(12A) 98min

Paris in the early 1970s and nine-year-old Anna de La Mesa (Nina Kervel) is having problems coming to terms with her radical political activist parents. Her Spanish-born lawyer father Fernando (Stefano Accorsi) and journalist/writer mother Marie (Julie Depardieu) have been inspired by the atrocities of the Franco dictatorship in Spain, Salvador Allende’s victory in Chile, feminism and the abortion issue to climb abroad the ideological bandwagon and live a more self aware life. This, of course, has an irrevocable effect on their comfortable life and Anna is soon plunged into a world of refugee nannies, international cuisine and cramped apartments full of noisy chain smoking revolutionaries.

Blame It On Fidel! is the debut feature of Julie Gavras, the daughter of Greek French filmmaker Costa Gavras (Z, Amen) and is a small, sweet natured, cherishable affair which has its heart very much in the right place. The fact that this cutesy, mildly stereotypical evocation of a time when the middle classes were more inclined to put their money where their beliefs were will appeal to the very kind of unmotivated, self contained petit bourgeois folks that the film seeks to parody is unfortunate but comes with the territory.

Gavras herself is a slightly wobbly uncertain director, but that is to be expected at this early stage of her career – scenes of quiet comedy are never as funny as they must have seemed on the page, plus her young protagonist comes across as more annoying than ‘confused but likeable’ but hey as Castro once noted, ‘a revolution is not a bed of roses.’

Cameo, Edinburgh, Fri 16–Thu 22 Nov.

Blame it on Fidel (La Faute à Fidel)

  • 3 stars
  • 2006
  • France
  • 1h 39min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Julie Gavras
  • Cast: Julie Depardieu, Stefano Accorsi, Nina Kervel

When a bourgeois Parisian family reinvent themselves as leftist radicals, little Anna (Kervel) is outraged at the loss of her comfortable lifestyle. First-time director Gavras is uncertain and wobbly at times, and the young protagonist is often more annoying than confused, but this is a small, sweet-natured, cherishable…

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