October 5 – 2PM + 7:30PM
France, 2015 – Rated 14A – 114 minutes
– in Tamil, English and French with English subtitles
Directed by Jacques Audiard
Cast: Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby
PALME D’OR – Cannes
In A Prophet, Jacques Audiard pulled his audience deep inside a powerful prison drama. In Rust and Bone, he brought the same intensity and authenticity to an un-likely love story. In Dheepan, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Audiard turns his piercing focus to a story so ubiquitous it practically hides in plain sight. What happens to the millions of migrants who flee conflict zones to find new homes in the cities of the west? In the case of the Tamil family at the centre of this searing film, conflict is never far behind.
The film begins in Sri Lanka at the end of the civil war, as a Tamil soldier (Jesuthasan Antonythasan) burns the bodies of his fallen comrades. The guns are silenced, his family has been killed, and he seeks a way out. He and Yalini (Kalieaswari Srinivasan) are strangers in a refugee camp, but they cobble together a fake family with young Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby), fool the aid workers, and are able to obtain passage on a boat for France.
Once in the outskirts of Paris, they must use their hard-won survival skills to navigate a crime-ridden housing complex. Securing their position in France means making their false family real, but past violence and present threats create a volatile combination that is bound to explode.
It shows Audiard once again drawn to resilient people in punishing situations, and its arc from the opening images of death to its final notes of hope and wholeness is quite moving. – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
What keeps Dheepan engaging throughout is the tremendous charisma of the performers. – Scott Foundas, Variety
Passionate, intensely focused, first-rate film-making. – David Sexton, This is London