Customer Reviews


7 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute and vital growing up story from a little girl's POV
This debut film by Julie Gavras, daughter of famed Greek-born director Costa-Gavras (e.g., Z, 1969), was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. In addition to directing, Julie Gavras also collaborated with Arnaud Cathrine on the script which they adapted from a novel by Italian novelist Domitilla Calamai. What is striking about the...
Published on 19 Dec 2007 by Dennis Littrell

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but....
An interesting but slightly dated film, worth a watch but I am not adding it to my collection, quite well made but overall it did not appeal to me.
Published 18 months ago by Keith Phillips


Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute and vital growing up story from a little girl's POV, 19 Dec 2007
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This debut film by Julie Gavras, daughter of famed Greek-born director Costa-Gavras (e.g., Z, 1969), was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. In addition to directing, Julie Gavras also collaborated with Arnaud Cathrine on the script which they adapted from a novel by Italian novelist Domitilla Calamai. What is striking about the story is the way it reconstructs how girls become social, how they learn about their world, how they question it, and how they reconcile the contradictions, and how they grow up.

Doing the growing up is nine-year-old Anna de la Mesa, played with fidelity, wit, and skill beyond her years by Nina Kervel-Bey. She is bourgeois to the core, following the lead of her maternal grandparents, who own a vineyard in Bordeaux, and her favorite nanny and housekeeper who lost everything to the Communists when Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba. Her parents, however, are infatuated with the Left, especially with the rise of Allende to power in Chile. The year is 1970-71.

Anna loves their house and garden and going to Catholic school. She is proper and sensible. When they lose their house, and have to let the nanny go, and end up renting an apartment in Paris, Anna is upset and demands to know why things have changed. When it appears that they don't have as much money, Anna begins turning off the lights and turning down the heat to save money. When they want her to transfer to the public school, she demurs and a compromise is made: she can continue to go to Catholic school but she is not allowed to take Bible studies. So when that time of the day comes, she has to stand up and go outside the classroom door and wait.

But Anna is strong emotionally and intellectually. She questions everything and is not self-conscious about being singled out. The other girls may laugh, but when she gets into a fight with one of them, she manages to win her over afterwards so that they are friends, even though their parents are not.

There is in the background the political disputes between the Right and the Left, between parents who change the subject when the question how babies are made is brought up, and those who tell the truth, in short between the bourgeois and the bohemian. One gets the sense that Gavras and Anna are wiser than the disputants, and that there is something to appreciate in both ways of life.

It is impossible not to identify with little Anna, partially because she herself is so fair, and partially because it is such a thrill to see the psychology of the socialization process displayed so well and true in a movie, but also because Nina Kervel-Bey is such a powerful little actress who was so wondrously directed by Julie Gavras. This is one of the best performances by a preteen actor that I have ever seen. Kervel-Bey simply dominates the film and commands the screen.

Will Anna shed her petite bourgeois ways and embrace the politics of her parents? I highly recommend that you see this film and find out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 24 Dec 2010
By 
Ignore Monk's bizarre review, the film couldn't be less exploitative.

It's an unusual story which examines unsentimentally, humourously, and without judgement, the effects of idealistic adults' political beliefs on their children. It contrasts the safe, conservative, bourgeois milieu in which the children have grown up, with the unorthodox, unpredictable world they find themselves drawn into by their parents' new political affiliations.

The film makes clever use of a child's perspective to point up absurdities in adult behaviour. Similar then in theme to 'What Maisie Knew' by Henry James & the novel 'Love Child' by Allegra Huston.

It benefits from marvelously understated performances - particularly Anna, whose miraculously unaffected turn puts winsome, practiced-cute American child stars to shame. There's some influence from Eric Rohmer in the film's throwaway ease, its engagement with ideas, & moments of comedy.

In summary - a thoughtful & charming film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Understated, 21 Dec 2010
By 
R. Napier (Wiltshire England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blame It On Fidel [DVD] (DVD)
Well, I hardly knew what to expect having read the two preceding reviews, but I liked this film a lot.

Having watched too many flash-bang films lately that assaulted my senses with Hollywood-style techniques, I loved the understatement. The treatment of the opposing viewpoints of adults was remarkably even-handed. I won't attempt to duplicate the very full description given by a previous reviewer, save to comment that the little girl was not required to stand during "le catéchisme" but was politely asked to go and sit in, as I remember it, the "salle d'études". The nuns were portrayed as caring teachers, whatever their beliefs.

I found the film charming from start to finish. As to another reviewer saying it uses a child to generate emotions in the viewer, I would say that it is very similar to the Alice stories of Lewis Carroll in that a child is used to show up the hypocrisy and twisted logic used by adults. If that is wrong, then some fine books and films will have to be discarded. I found this film admirably free of any kind of exploitation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but...., 14 May 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blame It On Fidel [DVD] (DVD)
An interesting but slightly dated film, worth a watch but I am not adding it to my collection, quite well made but overall it did not appeal to me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Blame it on the Glum Interiors, 8 Feb 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blame It On Fidel [DVD] (DVD)
I'm not going to pretend that I'm interested particularly in the politics of the period in question, nor the period itself, for that matter.

We're talking about the '70's and communist ideals, namely supporting another country, or regime by proxy. In this case, to make up for perceived neglected family duties - the father who's Spanish, with his French wife and three young children in Paris. Meetings, with an array of strangers forever coming and going are seen through the eyes of the preciously gifted and inquisitive 9 y.o. and which propels this film.

Her (Nina Kerval) questioning starts out as seeking explanations as to the family's downward change in social status, where she's picked on at school for having weird parents, who eat weird food and have strange friends. As with any precocious child, questions follow the answers, the parents often not sure of the answers themselves let alone what to tell the children, as ideals in theory are often more difficult in practice.

It's this mix of naivety, self exploration and quest for human knowledge that raises this film above an ordinary one. How, we all as kids would counteract a mistake made by a parent, often by contradiction and how we'd exaggerate it enormously. It was our way of showing how smart we were and how wrong and fallible, and lovable they were by being wrong. Usually Anna (the girl) gets it wrong, in both context and intent; not hilariously so but with a knowing amusement we observe Kerval's subtle but wide range of expressions. We are indeed looking at a great actress in the making.

Other than that, I found the film quite claustrophobic with the glum interiors of 70's - stale browns and oranges and mostly glum characters dressed similarly and not having a great time. It revealed little historically. Maybe parents could view it as a study as to how to juggle family needs with maintaining a political (or other) ideal and the obvious sacrifices that ultimately entails.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring!, 1 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blame It On Fidel [DVD] (DVD)
Not for me - binned after watching for complete dullness due to rubbish storyline.
Has far too many stars from others in my view!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Threadbare!, 19 Dec 2010
This review is from: Blame It On Fidel [DVD] (DVD)
This truly is as empty,vacuous and exploitative as it can get.

The main 'thrust' of the entire movie is the, unforgivable, ploy of 'using' a child to generate emotions in the viewer.

It goes nowhere frankly, nowhere, that is, beyond the twee emotiveness,that is generally lacking in intelligence.

Hugely manipulative, in that, if one removed the child the movie would become more profoundly and transparently puerile, if that were possible.

An insult to any thinking person.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Blame It On Fidel [DVD]
Blame It On Fidel [DVD] by Julie Gavras (DVD - 2008)
£5.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews