Blame It on Fidel

Director: Julie Gavras
Screenwriters: Julie Gavras

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


How do our experiences shape us, and how is political consciousness formed? Blame It on Fidel uses a light, charming touch to shed light on these questions. At the film's epicenter is whip-smart Anna, a feisty Parisian girl forced to assimilate cataclysmic changes when her parents decide to devote themselves full time to radical activism. It is 1970-71, and Anna's father is fighting to redistribute wealth in Chile, while her mother doggedly researches a book on women's abortion ordeals. Meanwhile, Anna, kicking and screaming, must adjust to refugee nannies with strange cooking habits, a cramped apartment filled with noisy, scruffy revolutionaries, and the humiliation of no longer being allowed to attend her beloved catechism class.

The fun of Blame It on Fidel is watching Anna (eloquently portrayed by Nina Kervel) valiantly sort through the dizzying array of contradictory ideologies flying at her—from communism to Greek mythology, from Vietnamese folktales and women's rights to Catholic morality. The film's emotional power arises from Anna's transformation from close-minded bourgeois princess to open-hearted truth seeker and her gradual internalization of what her parents, albeit clumsily, are trying to accomplish.

Seamless and energetic, Blame It on Fidel features substantive, yet buoyant, performances by Julie Depardieu and Stefano Accorsi, as well as a hilarious turn by Benjamin Feuillet as the little brother who unwittingly teaches Anna a thing or two.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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