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The Intouchables (2011)


24th August 2019

The title is not quite French and not quite English, I wonder why? Who would have thought an evening of films portraying the misfortunes of others in their disabilities - physical, mental and social - could be so uplifting and humorous? The two lead characters in this French film could not have been more disparate. Phillipe, immensely wealthy white man of letters and living in his ancestral Paris residence, surrounded by priceless art, is paralysed from the neck down and is entirely dependent on his staff which is numerous enough to have served his eighteenth century forebears. He decides to employ as his driver/companion the young virile black man, Driss, from the slums of the city who is disadvantaged in every way except for his sharp wit, intelligence and reckless sense of living life to the full by snatching every opportunity. The two men grow to be firm friends and remain so to this day we are told as the film is based on fact. Both men are risk takers and each educates the other into their own cultural values. The result is a laugh aloud film to which the audience certainly responded well. I would readily see it again. The short films beforehand were again very special. The first called Hip Hop Operation dealt with a group of very old people (up to age 96), who were line dancing. The primary purpose was to keep their limbs and muscles supple and to maintain good mobility, but in the process they became proficient enough to enter important dance competitions. It was joyous and inspirational. The second short, Jeremy the Dud is an Australian film concerning a lad with some mental difficulties who has been told to wear a sign "I am not special" at all times. The idea is for people to be aware but not to treat him like an imbecile. In fact the sign labelled him a dud and most of the people he encountered treated him as though he understood nothing. This film hurt. The discussion group were pleased to welcome a new RCC member who has only been to our cinema once before. Everybody agreed the evening had been a very entertaining one and enjoyed all the films. Many were struck by the story similarity of Intouchables to Green Book, the film we saw two weeks ago. Sonia

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