Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

France| 2000. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 130 min.

A prize-winner at the 2000 Venice Film Festival, Blame It on Voltaire is the story of Jallel, a young Tunisian immigrant in Paris. Claiming to be a refugee from war-torn Algeria in order to get residency, his life in the country of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ is one of homeless shelters, illegal jobs, assumed identities and emotionally complex sexual relationships. Director Abdellatif Kechiche, who was born in Tunisia and has worked for many years as an actor in France, refuses to portray Jallel as either hapless victim or angry rebel. Instead, he focuses on Jallel’s interpersonal relationships with his new community —not ghettoised North Africans, but an eclectic group of
unemployed French and second-generation immigrants struggling to survive. With superb performances by Sami Bouajila, Aure Atika and Elodie Bouchez, Blame It on Voltaire offers a moving and tender portrayal of life on the margins.

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