Dheepan movie still
Dheepan movie poster

Dheepan (2015)

Crime, Drama

Director: Jacques Audiard
Writers: Thomas Bidegain, Jacques Audiard, Noé Debré
Starring: Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby, Vincent Rottiers

In this French crime-drama film co-written and directed by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust and Bone), three Tamil refugees flee civil war-ravaged Sri Lanka and travel to France, in the hope of reconstructing their lives. After his batalion is wiped out and his family killed in the war, Dheepan finds himself in a refugee camp, where he has to pose as a family together with Yalini, a woman in her mid-twenties, and Illayaal, a nine-year-old orphan, all three total strangers to each other, in order to seek political asylum. They find their new home in a crime-ridden neighborhood in Paris, where Dheepan becomes resident caretaker and Yalini takes a job caring for an enfeebled older man whose apartment is a meeting ground for the local gangsters. As violence between the gangs escalates, the new refugee pretend-family gets caught in the middle.

Winner of the Palm D'Or at Cannes, Dheepan features Antonythasan Jesuthasan, himself an ex-Tamil Tiger in his teens who fled to France and became a published writer and activist, who truly shines in the title role, offering extra-autheticity to the narrative. A breathtaking examination of the modern immigrant experience, without suiting certain current refugee-themed political narratives, the film manages to convey enormous, heartbreaking emotion without resorting to sentimentalism or cheap manipulations.

Plot summary from IMDb: Dheepan is a Tamil freedom fighter, a Tiger. In Sri Lanka, the Civil War is reaching its end, and defeat is near. Dheepan decides to flee, taking with him two strangers - a woman and a little girl - hoping that they will make it easier for him to claim asylum in Europe. Arriving in Paris, the 'family' moves from one temporary home to another until Dheepan finds work as the caretaker of a run-down housing block in the suburbs. He works to build a new life and a real home for his 'wife' and his 'daughter', but the daily violence he confronts quickly reopens his war wounds, and Dheepan is forced to reconnect with his warrior's instincts to protect the people he hopes will become his true family.

Awards: 5 wins & 12 nominations.
Runtime: 115 min



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