Culture Street

By Sophia Whitfield

Everyone I know has raved about this film. I had messages from friends telling me I must go and see it. For my friends it was  a beautiful film, full of compassion, for me it is reality.

Most of us read books or see films to escape reality. So, should carers put themselves through a film, which echoes life, which could be heartbreaking for a carer, but inspiring for those who simply don’t know?

In the end curiosity got the better of me and I took myself off to see The Intouchables, a 2011 French comedy drama based on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his carer, Abdel Sellou. The directors, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakacheo, discovered Philippe’s true story after watching a 2004 documentary.

The film begins with wealthy aristocrat Philippe Cluzet hiring Driss, a young man from the projects, to be his carer after he becomes a quadriplegic as a result of a paragliding accident.

The most poignant part of the film is when Philippe, under attack from his friends for hiring a man from the streets of Paris, exclaims that he only wants ‘no pity’ and that is exactly what his carer is able to provide.

The film is executed with grace and humour. It has none of the American sentimentality, but will leave you with faith in the human spirit.

As the mother of a young man with a disability this film enthralled me. So true and full of resonance. It is rare that a film gets it right, the measure between reality and emotional response often warped by the director's desire to put emotions at the forefront of such a film. The Intouchables is beautifully played out.

It is unusual these days to be sitting in a packed cinema, but on Saturday night a crowd packed in to see this film, every last seat was taken and when the film reached its conclusion the audience applauded.

It will leave you with hope, both those who care for others with a disability and those who do not.

 

 

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