Sunday, May 7, 2017

Dheepan (2015)

Director: Jacques Audiard
Writers: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, Noé Debré
DOP: Eponine Momenceau
Cast: Antonythasan Jesuthasan, Kalieswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby
Languages: Tamil, French

Dheepan is a Srilankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and ends up working as a caretaker of flats outside Paris. Dheepan is not his real name and he had fled Srilanka with a lady and a girl posing as the deceased Dheepan family so that they could use their passports.

Film doesn't delve deep into the nuances of LTTE conflict in Srilanka as it anyway assumes the French audience doesn't know much about it and needn't be given too much details. The atrocities committed by the Government forces during the last days of the conflict did make Worldwide headlines. All these kinds of ethnic conflicts do have a universal language. The film did come out a time when the refugee crisis in Europe was making headlines and it earned Audiard a Palme d'Or at Cannes.

The apartment projects that Dheepan is working in is a Banlieue like setup and largely occupied by other non-first generation migrants. It is also beset with first-world problems like drug related gang wars. Same time Dheepan is also dealing with the fake family that he now has and his fake wife is reluctant to invest much into it. It is an engrossing watch from the get go and is difficult to describe the tone of the film. It basically is about how Dheepan and his 'family' integrates into the French society even though at its margins. People might find problems with how it ended as some have interpreted it as Audiard juxtaposing civil war in Srilanka with the gang wars in Europe. I saw it more as him showing the latter very much as a first world problem rather than equating both of their scales.

PS: It was indeed very strange to see a Tamil language film set in France.

Rating: 4/5