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Film Review: “Dheepan” (2015) ★★★★★


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Sometimes it happens that the war you try to escape still manages to hunt you down in another part of the world. A fight you want to end has no intention to end it with you. This is why to touch this subject in the film and avoid all sensitive parts of the immigrant’s life is no easy task. But when the filmmaker of “Rust and Bone”, Jacques Audiard, is on it, you have nothing to worry about.

DHEEPAN follows a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior Dheepan who flees to France for a quiet life. In order to be able to leave the country, Dheepan takes Yalini (Kalieaswari Srinivasan) as his wife, and Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby) as his daughter. These three estranged people to each other have to learn to live together and convince others that they are a real family. But as you may know, nothing really last forever when you have a past that has no intention to let you go…

It is Yalini you find in the opening scene, who is in a desperate search of an orphaned child to leave Sri Lanka. This is how she meets Illayaal, whose parents lost their lives in a local war. Shortly after she meets Dheepan they agree to pretend as If they were a married couple. Once they are able to convince the French Government their necessity to live in France, Dheepan finds a job as a caretaker outside Paris, while Yalini gets a nursing job to look after an old and sick man.

For a while everything goes perfectly fine. Yalini more or less starts earning money. Dheepan earns the reputation of a respectful man. Even Yalini and Dheepan allows themselves to cross the line of their arrangement and attempt to have a life together. But it’s Dheepan’s past and his uncontrollable temper is what blinds him when it comes to protect the little happiness he has. It’s an incredible journey of a newly built family and their way of learning to live together, no matter what the center story of DHEEPAN, you will simply love.

It appears that director Jacques Audiard has found a great partner to write a screenplay with, as Thomas Bidegain who joins Audiard after the “Rust and Bone” together came up with a different and much more difficult story. In DHEEPAN they explore the radical way of an immigrant life. It shows that sometimes you have to do what you have to in order to protect yourself and your family. It explores the possibility to build a family even though it was just an agreement. It’s about a strong spirit, determination and strength thats required in order to not ruin the little paradise you build. As a result, Audiard brings once again a well-crafted narrative, talented cast and stunning film to endlessly admire.

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