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Dheepan is a Tamil freedom fighter, a Tiger. In Sri Lanka, the Civil War is reaching its end, and defeat is near. Dheepan decides to flee, taking with him two strangers - a woman and a little girl - hoping that they will make it easier for him to claim asylum in Europe. Arriving in Paris, the 'family' moves from one temporary home to another until Dheepan finds work as the caretaker of a run-down housing block in the suburbs. He works to build a new life and a real home for his 'wife' and his 'daughter', but the daily violence he confronts quickly reopens his war wounds, and Dheepan is forced to reconnect with his warrior's instincts to protect the people he hopes will become his true family.Written by
A synthesis of the immigrant experience and its relevant cinematic genres
Starting with absurdity, continuing as a Bildungsroman, developing into a vigilante film, wrapping up with a stereotypical immigrant success story negated by cinematic language that leaves it ambiguous whether this happy ending is dream or reality. Audiard has done the best synthesis of immigrant stories and the refugee experience.
The tension between a killer-machine-turned soft-spoken janitor and relentless urban gangsters brings back the old wisdom on violence: those who fought in real wars never want violence back. On the other hand, those who are left on the margins of our society might develop an almost anachronistic volatility and a combative instinct. The latter might seem child-play as evidenced by the final elimination of thugs by the Tamil warrior, but the intricate relationship between the two forms of violence goes beyond the dramatic tensions and sticks in audience's head long after the film theatre lights up.
The narrative and the language have few traces of insincerity or patronization, which is extremely surprising for its subject matter. Family as another subject matter softens the images full of blood and firearms.
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