Dheepan | Film review - Jacques Audiard's powerful Palme d'Or winning drama

Dheepan Kalieaswari Srinivasan Claudine Vinasithamby Jesuthasan Antonythasan
Dheepan (2016) Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby and Jesuthasan Antonythasan

Three Sri Lankan refugees pose as a family to gain asylum in France in Jacques Audiard's powerful Palme d'Or winning drama Dheepan.

At the close of the Sri Lankan civil war, a former Tamil Tiger teams up with a young woman and a nine-year-old girl to pose as a family and thereby gain political asylum in France in Dheepan.

Landing in a gang-ridden housing estate in the Paris banlieues, the three strangers (Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan and Claudine Vinasithamby) struggle to adjust to their new surroundings and to each other, but they discover they have not entirely escaped the threat of violence.

French director Jacques Audiard, maker of The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet and Rust and Bone, puts human faces to the refugee crisis with vivid results. Towards the end, his movie takes a melodramatic turn from social realism to vigilante thriller, but this evidently didn’t put off the jury at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival who awarded Dheepan its top prize, the Palme d’Or.


Certificate 15. Runtime 115 mins. Director Jacques Audiard

Dheepan is available on Digital Download and is released on Blu-ray & DVD on 8 August, courtesy of Studio Canal.


  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary
  • Conversation between Jacques Audiard and Noé Debré


Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.