Poetical Refugee

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Poetical Refugee
Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
Produced by Jean-François Lepetit
Written by Abdellatif Kechiche
Starring Sami Bouajila
Élodie Bouchez
Bruno Lochet
Cinematography Dominique Brenguier
Marie-Emmanuelle Spencer
Edited by Annick Baly
Tina Baz
Amina Mazani
Release date
February 14, 2001
Running time
130 minutess
Country France
Language French

Poetical Refugee (French: La Faute à Voltaire) is a 2000 French drama film directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, starring Sami Bouajila, Élodie Bouchez and Bruno Lochet. It was Kechiche‘s debut feature film and was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for best first film, winning seven awards, overall, at different film festivals.[1]


Like Voltaire‘s Candide in his eponymous novel, Jallel, a young North-African man, dreaming of better prospects, immigrates illegally to France. He struggles at first as he is unable to find work and finds it difficult to make friends. But soon he gets to sell fruits in the underground, albeit illegally. He also makes some new friends and then falls in love. But his dreams of success remain unrealized as he comes to discover and share the solidarity of the other outcasts going from one encounter to the other, making his way through Paris, from hostels to immigrant aid societies and social welfare groups, living among the excluded and the destitute.[2][3][4]


Critical reception[edit]

"With superb performances by Sami Bouajila (Bye Bye), Aure Atika and Elodie Bouchez (The Dream Life of Angels), Poetical Refugee offers a moving and tender portrayal of life on the margins, a review by Cinema of the World noted.[5]


Angers European First Film Festival-2001
  • European Special Jury Award
  • Jean Carmet Award for the ensemble of actors.
Cologne Mediterranean Film Festival-2001
  • Best Actress to Élodie Bouchez
Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film-2000
  • Jury Special Prize
  • Youth Jury Emile Cantillon Award
  • nominated for Golden Bayard Best Film (Meilleur Film Francophone)
Venice Film Festival-2000
  • Cinema for Peace Award
  • Luigi De Laurentiis Award


  1. ^ "Poetical Refugee(2000): Awards". IMDB. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Poetical Refugee". Kino Festivals. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Poetical Refugee". el Cinema. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "La faute à Voltaire-Multicultural Germany Project". Department of German, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "La Faute à Voltaire aka Blame It on Voltaire (2000)". Cinema of the World. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 

External links[edit]