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Blame it on Fidel (2006)

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

Director:

Julie Gavras

Writers:

Domitilla Calamai (novel), Arnaud Cathrine (collaboration) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nina Kervel-Bey Nina Kervel-Bey ... Anna de la Mesa
Julie Depardieu ... Marie de la Mesa
Stefano Accorsi ... Fernando de la Mesa
Benjamin Feuillet Benjamin Feuillet ... François de la Mesa
Martine Chevallier Martine Chevallier ... Bonne Maman
Olivier Perrier ... Bon Papa
Marie Kremer ... Isabelle
Raphaël Personnaz ... Mathieu, le marié
Mar Sodupe ... Marga
Gabrielle Vallières Gabrielle Vallières ... Cécile
Raphaëlle Molinier Raphaëlle Molinier ... Pilar
Carole Franck ... Soeur Geneviève
Marie Llano Marie Llano ... Mère Anne-Marie
Marie Payen Marie Payen ... La mère poule
Marie-Noëlle Bordeaux Marie-Noëlle Bordeaux ... Filomena
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Whose fault is it anyway?

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Soeur Geneviève: Miss De la Mesa, repeat what I said.
Anna de la Mesa: "The goat was eaten by the wolf for disobeying."
Soeur Geneviève: Getting eaten by the wolf was its punishment. So the text is about the need for obedience.
Anna de la Mesa: Sister, I don't get it. My grandpa showed me the paw of a fox caught in a trap. It gnawed off its paw to get free.
Soeur Geneviève: That's quite different. The goat wasn't trapped. Mr. Seguin fed it, loved it.
Anna de la Mesa: But he kept it tied up. It's in the book.
Soeur Geneviève: Are you saying the goat wanted to die? That would be a sin. Sit down.
Anna de la Mesa: Animals aren't Catholic,...
[...]
See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Cute and vital growing up story from a little girl's POV
19 December 2007 | by DeeNine-2See all my reviews

This debut film by Julie Gavras, daughter of famed Greek-born director Costa-Gavras (e.g., Z, 1969), was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. In addition to directing, Julie Gavras also collaborated with Arnaud Cathrine on the script which they adapted from a novel by Italian novelist Domitilla Calamai. What is striking about the story is the way it reconstructs how girls become social, how they learn about their world, how they question it, and how they reconcile the contradictions, and how they grow up.

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.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

French

Release Date:

29 November 2006 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Blame It on Fidel! See more »

Filming Locations:

Bordelais, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,004, 5 August 2007

Gross USA:

$168,065

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,360,243
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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