May 9th, 2016



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Release Year: 2015

Rating: 7.2/10 ( voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Jacques Audiard

Stars: Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby

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.

Writers: Jacques Audiard, Jacques Audiard, Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby, Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby, Vincent Rottiers, Faouzi Bensaïdi, Marc Zinga, Bass Dhem, Franck Falise, Joséphine de Meaux, Jean-Baptiste Pouilloux, Nathan Anthonypillai, Vasanth Selvam, Kartik Krishnan, Rudhra, Tassadit Mandi, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jesuthasan Antonythasan - Dheepan
Kalieaswari Srinivasan - Yalini
Claudine Vinasithamby - Illayaal
Vincent Rottiers - Brahim
Faouzi Bensaïdi - Monsieur Habib
Marc Zinga - Youssouf
Bass Dhem - Azziz
Franck Falise - Le gardien du Hall C
Joséphine de Meaux - La directrice de l'école
Jean-Baptiste Pouilloux - Le juriste au foyer
Nathan Anthonypillai - L'interprète
Vasanth Selvam - Colonel Cheran
Kartik Krishnan - Le faussaire au Sri Lanka
Rudhra - La femme du camp de réfugié
Tassadit Mandi - La dame dans l'escalier


Official Website: Official site [Japan] | UGC Distribution [France]

Country: France

Language: English, French, Tamil

Release Date: 3 Jan 2015

Filming Locations: France

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Lead actor Jesuthasan Antonythasan was a boy soldier with the Tamil Tigers before fleeing Sri Lanka for France, just like the character he plays in the movie. See more »


User Review


Rating: 8/10

Although it must be a coincidence, the timing of this film's release is pitch perfect. Just when thousands of Syrians are trying to escape their warn-torn country, and some European politicians are complaining about a 'swarm of migrants, trying to plunder the welfare state', 'Dheepan' shows what it is all about to be a refugee.

It is about desperation, about fear, about loneliness, about poverty, about not being able to leave your past behind, no matter how hard you try. And yes, it is also about deceit.

The refugees in 'Dheepan' have to lie to get away from the civil war in Sri Lanka. They pretend to be a family of three, but in reality they are neither husband and wife nor the parents of their child. This makes their life in Europe even more complicated. The tensions between the three of them come on top of the difficulties they already have adapting to life in a new country.

The film shows how the title character, a former Tamil Tiger, gets a job as a caretaker in a crime- and drugs-ridden apartment block in the Paris suburbs. They have fled the violence of their own country, only to be exposed to violence of a different kind. In the end, this turns the peaceful caretaker Dheepan into a fierce fighter once again.

There has been some debate about the ending. It differs from the rest of the film. The raw realism from Dheepan's life in the rundown neighbourhood gives way to a more spectacular, adrenalin-fueled style. Although it is quite a change, I thought it worked well. It gives the film a sharp edge, particularly in contrast to the epilogue, which offers food for thought in itself.

Audiard once again has made a very powerful film about strong characters trying to survive in difficult situations. As in his other films, his heroes are ordinary people, with character flaws and weaknesses, who nevertheless show strong determination to get what they want out of life. For a French director, it takes some guts to make a film which is mostly spoken in the Tamil language. It's proof of his original and individual approach to film making. As much praise as he deserves, he couldn't have done it without the remarkable accomplishment of his two lead characters, who show an incredible range of emotions without a single moment of overacting.


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