Blame it on Fidel (2006)
"La faute à Fidel!" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, History  |  29 November 2006 (France)
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A 9-year-old girl weathers big changes in her household as her parents become radical political activists in 1970-71 Paris.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nina Kervel-Bey ...
Anna de la Mesa
Marie de la Mesa
Fernando de la Mesa
Benjamin Feuillet ...
François de la Mesa
Martine Chevallier ...
Bonne Maman
Olivier Perrier ...
Bon Papa
Mathieu, le marié
Gabrielle Vallières ...
Raphaëlle Molinier ...
Carole Franck ...
Soeur Geneviève
Marie Llano ...
Mère Anne-Marie
Marie Payen ...
La mère poule
Marie-Noëlle Bordeaux ...


Hello, my name is Anna and I am nine years old. I wish you had known me before - I mean before my aunt Marga and my cousin Pilar came to my parents'house -, I was such a happy little girl. Before their coming life was a bed of roses. Of course my little brother could be a pain in the neck - little brothers always are, aren't they? - but there was that wonderful big house, there was my Cuban-born nanny who cooked so well, there was the bath before dinner, not to mention this wonderful catechism class at the catholic school. But they did come, those Spanish intruders. And now never heard before names like "Franco", "Allende", "Women's Lib", "abortion", the lot, have got into my life. Daddy and Mummy have suddenly become "communists", although this a term that Bon Papa and Bonne Maman (my grandparents from Bordeaux, in fact) just hate. Because of the intruders not only did we move to a tiny apartment but the place is invaded day and night by "barbudos" (bearded men). No more bath before ... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

catechism | bath | class | girl | spanish | See All (165) »


Whose fault is it anyway?


Drama | History


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 November 2006 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Blame It on Fidel!  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,004 (USA) (3 August 2007)


$166,485 (USA) (14 December 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Marie de la Mesa: Is that why you want to change schools? You won't see your friend Cecile anymore.
Anna de la Mesa: It doesn't matter. It's like changing nannies.
Marie de la Mesa: How?
Anna de la Mesa: It's sad when they leave, but if the next one is nice, it's okay.
See more »


Ay, Carmela
(El Ejercito del Ebro)
Spanish revolutionary song (1808/adapted 1936)
Sung by Anna to protest and cover her parents' quarrel
See more »

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User Reviews

Family story shows that young kids do think
15 February 2007 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

"In any given festival," A.O. Scott of the NYTimes writes today from Berlin, "there is usually at least one movie that chronicles a time of political trauma from the point of view of a child." He goes on to say that at the Berlinale he's just seen one set in 1970 by Brazilian Cao Hamburger that "fits the bill nicely. In addition to politics and soccer, it has gentle sentiment, the stirrings of youthful sexuality and a grouchy, warmhearted old man." Blame It on Fidel (based on an Italian novel, Tutta colpa di Fidel, by Domitilla Calamai) is also about 1970-71 and deals with political events from a child's viewpoint, but the rest of its ingredients are different. The emphasis is far more on the child's intellectual development than on "political trauma." Gavras' film revolves around nine-year-old Anna (Nina Kervel) and her well-off bourgeois family living in France. Her father Fernando de la Mesa (Stefano Accorsi) is Spanish (from a rich Catholic royalist family, she learns later), and Fernando and wife Marie (Julie Depardieu), opposed to Franco, who Fernando's uncle is fighting in Spain, get excited about Allende's victory in Chile and woman's right to choose and things like that and decide to change their way of living. They leave their big house and move to a small apartment so Fernando can go to Chile and then "think." Marie keeps on doing articles for Marie-Claire to provide funds, but starts a documentary study on women and childbirth. Anna has to give up her nanny and she and her little brother François (Benjamin Feuillet) are minded by political refugees, first one from Greece, then one from Vietnam. At the insistence of Fernando, who's become liaison in France for Chilean activists, Anna is taken out of Divinity class at her private Catholic school.

Though there are lots of meetings in the little apartment now, the violent upheavals in society, even in Chile, only touch the family from afar, but what's fun and fresh about this appealing early-stages coming-of-age comedy is that Anna engages tooth and nail with the ideas her parents are indirectly imposing on her -- the importance of group action; the injustice of a market economy, etc. She thoroughly enjoyed the perks and rituals of a comfortable bourgeois life and Divinity was one of her best subjects. She thought her conservative grandparents (her mother's parents, heirs to a Bordeaux vineyard) had their own worthwhile ways of doing good. (And they did, but they didn't disturb the existing social order as Fernando's Chilean activist friends want to do.) At first, amusingly, the feisty, impulsive little François is better at adjusting to the changes, to sleeping in the same bedroom and eating exotic food prepared by their new nannies. In the end though, Anna has come to terms with the principle of change, and it's she who insists on being transferred to a secular school that's multicultural and free-wheeling, and she's happily joining in the play there at recess time as the film ends.

Former documentary filmmaker Gavras probably inherited her political awareness through her father, the Costa-Gavras of Z and State of Siege, but she's expressed a woman's point of view toward politics by choosing a subject that deals with their effect on a family. The film is bright and entertaining and has some good laughs. But it deserves extra credit for having a good head on its shoulders at all times. Rather than showing political events from a child's passive point of view, Blame It on Fidel deals with how children may be victimized by the ideas of their parents, even when those ideas are well-meaning and progressive. The film comes up with the startling revelation that a nine-year-old can seriously engage with issues like abortion and capitalism vs. communism.

To be shown in the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center March 7 and 10, March 4 and 6 at the IFO Center. Gaumont, opened in Paris November 29, 2006. No US distributor.

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