At first I thought Audiard seems influenced by the Godfather movies, from the young enforcer who takes over a crime business in A Prophet to this movie’s immigrant stories (dunno how Rust & Bone would fit in), but after it became clear that Dheepan was heading towards rage and revenge, I thought of it as a more currently-fashionable Harry Brown (others are saying Straw Dogs).

The most interesting twist: Dheepan and his “family” are only pretending to be a family in order to get refugee status and flee Sri Lanka, where Dheepan was a Tamil Tiger. They live together like strangers, only playing the family role for outside observers, but gradually begin to respect and protect each other. Meanwhile, the block of apartments where they live and work is a drug hub which turns violent when lead dealer Vincent Rottiers (young Jean in the Renoir biopic) returns from prison. With these pieces in place, the movie gets to create a crowd-pleasing finale where Dheepan draws on his violent past to protect his makeshift family. M. D’Angelo: “After nearly two hours of depicting the improvised family’s patient adjustments, negotiations, and compromises, Audiard abruptly switches to Hollywood fantasy, and there’s no sign that he’s doing so ironically, metatextually, or with any other subversive purpose in mind.”

Still a pretty good movie. I’m not as upset about this winning the palme d’or (or Loach winning in 2016) as others are. Regardless of the winner, I’m still seeking out as many of the acclaimed competition films as possible (so far: Carol, The Assassin, The Lobster, Sicario).

I insulted Katy’s rental choice at the video store so as retribution she rented us a slow-as-dirt, pretty-as-a-picture Sri-Lankan film. Being There would’ve been better, but I was in enough trouble already so we watched this instead, each one of us bored but assuming the other was enjoying it.


The guy in the pink shirt is a security guard. He has an elder co-worker, whom he is possibly forced to kill at the end. He’s stripped naked and tossed in the lake by some buddies. He has a bored wife and a restless sister, one of whom is below.


And here is an outhouse.


Long static takes, pretty shots, disaffected post-war characters who don’t relate to each other. I fell asleep but I think I got the general idea. Movie won the Camera d’or at Cannes, and the DVD helpfully includes the whole press book as a PDF file. Interviews with the director are very convincing… besides the fact that he’s illustrating modern interpersonal disconnection, and I am getting tired of movies about mopey people who don’t talk to each other which claim to be commenting on the present human condition, he sounds like he really knows what he’s talking about without being arrogant, admits a Tsai Ming-Liang influence (I’d been wondering), and from his description this sounds like a film I’d really want to see. Maybe under better conditions next time.