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Ronita Torcato


A little chit, a little chat, a little bit of this & that;meaning news, views & lotsa reviews from an independent journo based in Bombay aka Mumbai


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review: A HEARTWARMING TALE OF LIFE & FRIENDSHIP : THE INTOUCHABLES

A HEARTWARMING TALE OF LIFE & FRIENDSHIP

THE INTOUCHABLES
Starring François Cluzet, Omar Sy,Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet, Alba Gaïa Bellugi, Cyril Mendy
Directed & written by Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano

There's
a comic scene in this  French film  about a  true life
cross-racial,intercultural friendship where Abdel “Driss” Yasmin  (Omar
Sy) the cocky live-in caretaker of  Philippe  Pozzo di Borgo, a wealthy
quadriplegic, says Rimsky Korsakov's Flight of the Bumble Bee is the
theme from "Tom and Jerry". Driss,short for Idris, is being introduced
to the joys of  classical music at Philippe's birthday concert. We know 
Philippe is a cultured blue-blood when we hear the strains of
Schubert's Ave Maria as Driss,enters the house for the first time for an
interview with the intention of being rejected. All Driss wants is a
letter of rejection so he can prove to the French authorities he's
serious about employment and thus qualifies for the dole. But as John
Lennon sang in Beautiful Boy,  Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
The loud-mouth ex-con from the Banlieue ( the Parisian equivalent of
the Bronx)  is hired to wait hand,foot and bowel on the disabled
aristocrat, in which time he
discovers the extreme sport
(para-gliding)  that was responsible for rendering Philippe immobile
from the neck down, as well as poetry,art and opera. Driss'
identification of classics with cellphone tunes and advertising jingles
is as hilarious as his reaction to the opera and the long distance
poetic exchanges  between Philippe and his love interest.
They are an odd couple, Driss and Philippe that is,  but  long term
collaborators, Nakache and Toledano ( this is their fourth film in 15
years) give a droll spin to their source material ( a 2003 documentary )
transforming the tried and tested buddy concept  into a heartwarming
tale of friendship and life.Do note the strong anti-euthanasia line
between the coarse humour and foul language.Indians who are accustomed
to servile servants may well be shocked by Driss' uppity ways ( he
persists in making passes to Philippe's  pretty red-head Magalie, but
then the West, notwisthstanding its racism, treats domestic help as
humanely as possible. Some folks go even further. Arnold Shwarzenegger
even sired a boy child with his housemaid.

The real clincher, to my mind, is Nakache-Toledano's decision to
makeover the real
Abdel (an Arab) into a black African (Senegalese) equivalent of Muhammed
Ali ( aka Cassius Clay)  loud-mouth, nimble-feet et al, and locate him
as a contrast to Philippe's high-brow, genteel aristocrat. What the
audience sees then is the formation of a strong bond between the
disparates, as they enrich each other's lives.We see how Driss responds
to art and Bach (even as he mocks opera)  Philippe learns to rock - and I
don't mean his introduction to contemporary music ( Earth, Wind &
Fire ) Philippe learns to overcome his lack of self confidence and take
his long-distance relationship further.  Omar Sy is a real find and one
hopes this release from the Weinstein Company which also distributed The
Artist, will do for Sy what The Artist did for its lead actors and
director.

Released in India with English sub-titles,The Intouchables has  won
audience awards on the film festival circuit and broken box office
records in its native France and Germany, where it trounced “Harry
Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” when the real-lfe Philippe gave
his assent to the film, he stipulated the donation of 5% of the profits
of the movie to an association for the disabled.The film-makers have
already donated one million Euro.Expect a Hollywood remake with Colin
Firth in the role of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo.

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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai

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