Dheepan

***

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Dheephan, the story of a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France.
"The director is adept at confronting ordinary people with extraordinary situations to test their resilience."

Another slice of the rigours of life for some in contemporary France, the flight of three refugees receives powerful articulation from Jacques Audiard, whose reputation recently has rested on the likes of A Prophet and Rust And Bone.

In Dheepan, the director seems more subdued as he focusses on three characters in a fake family relationship who manage to escape the civil war in Sri Lanka to try to make a new life in France.

Dheepan (Jesuthasan Antonythasan) gets a job as a caretaker on a grim housing estate while his fellow refugees settle down alongside him. The girl Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby) starts school and learns French. The woman passed off as Dheepan’s wife Yalini (Kaliesaswari Srinivasan) finds work looking after an elderly man.

The estate harbours a drugs gang whose leader Brahim (Vincent Rottiers) has just been released from prison and returns to take over command, prompting a toughening of attitudes and a brutal stand-off.

Until this point, Audiard is content to observe the rituals and risks of this world where a word or gesture out of place can wreak havoc. Dheepan quickly finds out that the street fighting skills learned from the Tamil Tigers in his homeland serve him well in his new surroundings.

The director is adept at confronting ordinary people with extraordinary situations to test their resilience. It doesn’t always turn out well but here Audiard is determined to end on a positive note.

Reviewed on: 21 May 2015
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The story of a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and ends up working as a caretaker outside Paris.
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Director: Jacques Audiard

Writer: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain

Starring: Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Franck Falise, Vincent Rottiers, Marc Zinga, Claudine Vinasithamby

Year: 2015

Runtime: 109 minutes

Country: France


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