A family goes from one war zone to another in Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan. The story centers on three Sri Lankans—a Tamil soldier, a young woman, and a nine-year-old—who pose as a family in order to immigrate to France. Once there, the pretend daughter starts attending school while the fake husband and wife became caretakers—he a groundskeeper, she a maid—in the gang-infested projects where they live. Moving briskly, Dheepan covers a lot of emotional ground, showing the quotidian struggles and triumphs of the family, without being mawkish or overwrought. Kalieaswari Srinivasan and Jesuthasan Antonythasan captivate us with their stirring performances, though they are not professional actors. Nicolas Jaar provides the cool, restrained score. And the climax is surreal.
In Tamil & French & English.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White