Blame It on Fidel (La Faute à Fidel)

Julie Gavras

8/10 (light)

This was a surprise, recommended by my communist mother-in-law. It’s about a young girl in 1970s Paris whose parents gradually become politicized amid the end of Franco’s dictatorship and the rise of Salvador Allende in Chile. As her father becomes a liaison to socialist activists from Chile and her mother begins writing pro-abortion journalism, the girl watches in horror as all of her bourgeouis comforts are stolen out from under her by the savage bearded ones (which is how she refers to the communists). How she interprets and adjusts to these changes makes up the bulk of the film.

The movie succeeds because it is told entirely from the girl’s perspective. The viewer shares her confusion as her anti-Castro Cuban nanny is abruptly let go and a young Greek refugee comes to replace her, followed by a Vietnamese refugee, etc. It was rewarding to see these political games from such an innocent perspective, and a valuable subtext of the film highlights the dangers as parents of getting so distracted by the fight to improve the world that you forget to improve your own family. It’s not an overtly political film. If anything it is anti-capitalist, although it offers plenty of implicit criticism of the idealistic socialism espoused by the parents. What good is idealism when it makes you negligent?

Although not perfect (it’s a little too superficial to be considered an extremely memorable film), it’s a very worthwhile viewing experience.

17 March 2010

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