After his unit was decimated, a fighter of the Tamil Tigers ( Antonythasan Jesuthasan , fabulous discovery) leaves Sri Lanka to France. He formed a false family with a young woman and a girl, donning the identity of Dheepan. He finds a job as a guard at a housing project and will rub the band to dealers who control the area. There. We do not expect a new Jacques Audiard like any film, especially in competition at Cannes. Three years that it had been waiting for the missed Palme Rust and Bone ( Haneke has doubled with Love ). And again, everything is in its place: Audiard shoots beautifully human bodies marked / injured, and agitation in a small space where they try to escape. That is the theory, the overall analysis.
While it indulges in some surprising amenities (when Dheepan booze in a cellar it is harshly lit in red, been there , done that), formal mastery of Audiard is well established; the first fifteen minutes, with the funeral pyre and the appearance of the title, are real slaps. No other French filmmaker knows mingle pure realism and dreamlike visions (among others the appearance of the god Ganesh elephant head would live among spun Nanarland). It immerses us in real life, in war, the no man’s land, the conflict zone in an abandoned space where might makes right. Cinema guerrilla, such as lost by the Tamil Tigers: cinematically Dheepan is made of unpredictable raids, irregular strikes amiss, jetties brutal scenes and abandoned, sometimes rightly sometimes less (why have abandoned the character of the former colonel Tamil?) and that’s also the war. Not confrontation but its uncertainty.
Basically the feat of the film is not to talk about immigration (which could cause nauseating debates) but rather of integration or reintegration. Dheepan tells income fighter who realizes war (or not) he humanly past a point of no return. This is The Warriors of Hell , Rambo and Company and actually, Audiard, who sincerely loves genre films, thus allowing from that pitch to treat the comeback of drama grafting him a violent countdown to the movie vigilant that explodes in its final chapter. But Dheepan also tells the formation of a family against all odds, between the hero and his fake girlfriend through more or less violent crises, which curiously weakens the film. Not because of heroin ( Kalieaswari Srinivasan , unbelievable) whose touching story of his relationship with the big boss of téci ( Rottiers ) is as strong as that of Dheepan but simply because it gives the film a very credible epilogue shaped sunny happy end, which necessarily weakens the impact of the film. But we feel that there is much to say and Dheepan goes far beyond its status as a single object in Cannes competition in which he has very big chances to shine.
Sylvestre Picard (sylvestrepicard)
First extract Dheepan , in French theaters August 26, 2015: