Sivadhasan (Jesuthasan) is a Tamil rebel fighter whose side loses the long, bloody civil war in Sri Lanka. Posing as a political refugee, he uses a dead man’s passport to gain entry to France, taking with him two strangers: Yalini (Srinivasan) and Illayaal (Vinasithamby) who pretend to be his wife and daughter. Working as a janitor in a tough, inner city housing project, Sivadhasan finds that life in Paris really isn’t so different from back home.
Drawing on his past as a child soldier, Jesuthasan contributed some of his own experiences to the story, and turns in a deeply felt, affecting performance as a result. Indian actress Srinivasan is also remarkable as a young woman struggling to assimilate into a new world and make a new life with a near stranger. Audiard directs this poignant film with compassion and a meticulous attention to the rhythms of immigrant life. It’s little wonder this won the Palme D’Or prize at Cannes.