At nine, Anna (Nina Kervel) is the apple of her grandmother’s eye. She’s tres bien élevé and knows her station. Spanish father Fernando (Stefano Accorsi) is a lawyer and French mother Marie (Julie Depardieu) a journalist. They live in a Parisian home with a garden. But when Francesco’s brother and sister-in-law, both political activists, enter the mix, Ann’s 1970 world is overhauled. Bourgeois life is eschewed in favor of a smaller apartment and the riff-raff of political nourishment. Even Ann’s beloved Castro-hating nanny is ousted.
Julie Gavras — daughter of “Z”-maker Costa-Gavras — is supple in her depiction of a girl who can’t fathom all the commotion over Franco, Allende, and Fidel. Why should her life be made to come undone? And what’s all this fuss about abortion? What’s with the police and tear gas? Brown-eyed Kervel gives Anna sweetness and bewildered wit. How much of her own upbringing Julie Gavras inserted Domitilla Calamai’s novel matters less than the deliciousness of the result. How do adult notions of social justice affect a nine-year-old? Anna’s the answer.