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[French Movie 2011] The Intouchables

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"Les Intouchables" Website



Olivier Nakache
Eric Toledano


Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky
Laurent Zeitoun
Yann Zenou


Mathieu Vadepied


Dorian Rigal-Ansous


Ludovico Einaudi
Production Design
François Emmanuelli


François Cluzet - Philippe
Omar Sy - Driss
Anne Le Ny - Yvonne
Audrey Fleurot - Magalie
Clotilde Mollet - Marcelle
Alba Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi - Elisa
Cyril Mendy - Adama
Salimata Kamate - Fatou
Absa Diatou Toure - Mina
Grégoire Oestermann - Antoine
Dominique Daguier - Amie de Philippe
François Caron - Ami de Philippe
Christian Ameri - Albert
Dorothée Brière - Eléonore


by Meghan Carlson

INTOUCHABLES is a comedic tale of two drastically different men that meet through a job interview.

Philippe, a wealthy aristocratic quadriplegic, is on the hunt for a new caretaker. Driss, a Senegalese immigrant from the projects, shows up for the interview—but only to obtain a signature to keep his unemployment benefits rolling in. But to the astonishment of everyone on his staff, Philippe gives the overconfident, charismatic, and under-qualified Driss the position. While learning unfiltered details of each other’s lives, Philippe and Driss gain a renewed sense of life and friendship, and discover that sometimes, one just needs a high-speed police chase in a Maserati to escape the routine of everyday life.

Loosely based on a real story and one of France’s highest-grossing films to date, INTOUCHABLES is filled with life lessons—the most important of which is that it’s okay to laugh at yourself—and superb acting; Sy went on to receive a César Award (France’s equivalent of an Oscar) for best actor for his role in the film, making him the first black man to receive the award.

source: http://secure.dallasfilm.org/festivalfeature/id/22191984701895622

Untouchable, review

French film Untouchable, a smash hit across the Channel, is corny but charming, writes Robbie Collin.
3 out of 5 starsOmar Sy and François Cluzet in Untouchable.Omar Sy and François Cluzet in Untouchable. 
By Robbie Collin

1:08PM BST 20 Sep 2012

Earlier this week, a committee overseen by the French National Cinema Centre selected Untouchable as that nation’s entry in the 2013 foreign language Oscar race. It’s just corny enough to win. The premise of Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s comic drama is not unlike The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and it, too, is based on a true story. Unlike Julian Schnabel’s rarefied exploration of paralysis, however, the film itself is as broad, accessible and trombonishly unsubtle as a subtitled Driving Miss Daisy.

In France Les Intouchables, as it is known there, is the second-highest-grossing domestically produced film of all time and one of its stars, Omar Sy, beat The Artist’s Jean Dujardin to the 2012 César award for best actor. The seasoned awards campaigners Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who made sure Dujardin won his Oscar, have since brought this film to the United States, with a strange, half-translated title (The Intouchables) and the rights to an English-language remake signed and sealed. Now, with its title fully translated, it arrives in the UK.

Untouchable wears its award-winning aspirations on its sleeve, and all of the necessary boxes — boundary-crossing friendship, hard-hitting themes, warm comedy — are ticked with a fluorescent pink marker. François Cluzet, perhaps best known here for the muscular thriller Tell No One, plays Philippe, an eccentric Parisian millionaire and quadriplegic. Tired of being surrounded by be-cardiganed milquetoasts, he advertises for a new live-in carer and hires Driss (Sy), a strapping black immigrant from a broken home in the banlieues who only applied for the post to keep the benefits office sweet.

Almost instantly, the two men strike up a mischievous camaraderie. Driss, a good man in need of stability, is taken with his opulent new home, and we see him larking around in the free-standing bath and carousing with exotic women in his wood-panelled apartment. (Perhaps this sequence didn’t need to be so strenuously underscored by jazz-funk standard The Ghetto.) Meanwhile, Philippe savours his new carer’s lust for life, bracing lack of pity and ready access to marijuana. Driss also tirelessly flirts with Philippe’s secretary Magalie (Audrey Fleurot) and strikes up a warm, platonic friendship with his aide Yvonne (Anne Le Ny).

These characters are conduits for charisma rather than great dramatic roles, but the horseplay between Sy and Cluzet is often very funny, and one joke bounces merrily into the next. A gag about Driss confusing his employer’s shampoo and foot cream starts with a terse exchange about the lack of lather in Philippe’s hair: cue a brief follow-up shot of his feet swathed in suds. The dialogue has also been translated for maximum mainstream impact. Regional jokes have been paraphrased to include US-friendly punchlines involving the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Justin Bieber.

Inevitably much of the humour is built on stereotypes, and one sequence, in which the servant boogies to Earth, Wind & Fire while his master looks on approvingly, has caused disgruntlement in some quarters. (One normally even-tempered American critic furiously characterised Driss as a “performing monkey”.) But Untouchable is not really a film about race, or disability, or anything other than friendship: my (perhaps generous) reading of this scene is an older man who cannot dance looking first enviously, and then joyously, at a younger man who can.

Untouchable’s moral is an optimistic, conservative one: give a man responsibility and he will act responsibly, setting aside the odd joint and speeding ticket. This is not a film that will change the whole world, but one that just might charm it.

source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/9555377/Untouchable-review.html


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"The Intouchables" OST:

A look into the lives of the real-life characters who inspired this moving film (In French audio and no English subtitles):

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Movie review: 'The Intouchables'

One of the biggest French box office hits in years and it's easy to see why, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache's “The Intouchables” is an ingratiating and ultimately irresistible comedy, a movie that looks like it's going for maximum emotional manipulation but comes across as genuine thanks to great performances by Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy.


Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet star in "The Intouchables."

Philippe (Cluzet of “Tell No One”) is a stupendously wealthy man who hit a bad luck streak, losing his wife to a terminal illness and then suffering spinal injury in a freak accident. When he and his assistant Magalie (Audrey Fleurot) interview potential caregivers, the applicants are bland functionaries. Philippe needs constant care to stave off atrophy and the myriad other maladies that can impact a paralyzed man, but he is put off by the morose men looking for work.

Then a tough Senegalese immigrant named Driss (Sy) shows up, looking to just have his application rejected so he can collect unemployment. Driss is unrehearsed and not eager to impress, ready to get his paper stamped and go away. Instead, Philippe offers him the job, partly as a challenge to the young and directionless man from the Parisian projects, but also as a challenge to his own regimented life.

“The Intouchables” carries all the warning signs of being a “Driving Miss Daisy” update, a cloying oversimplification of race relations that provides easy but trite solutions to societal divides. But this is all about execution and chemistry — Cluzet and Sy each deliver magnetic, sympathetic performances using entirely different skill sets. Cluzet is remarkably expressive given the limitations of his character's movement, while Sy derives his power from a kinetic, force-of-nature presence.

There are scenes in “The Intouchables” that desperately need trimming or outright omission, particularly a dance sequence in which Driss teaches stiff rich people the joys of dancing to Earth Wind & Fire — it's almost a deal-breaker, a moment when Toledano and Nakache overplay their hands and do a “Big Chill” dishwashing-to-the-oldies scene. But given the story and the circumstances of the characters, it's a wonder that “The Intouchables” is able to feel as genuine as it does for 90 percent of its running time.

“The Intouchables” has all the earmarks of a sleeper hit, mainly because it offers a satisfying emotional arc without force-feeding those emotions. There is an inescapable joy in seeing actors hit a rhythm, and Cluzet and Sy deserve great credit for taking what could have been stock characters and giving them unexpected life.

George Lang

source: http://newsok.com/movie-review-the-intouchables/article/3691825

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The Intouchables (Intouchable)

Quadriplegia? It’s no big deal.
By Michael O'Sullivan
Friday, June 1, 2012

A box-office smash in France and a multiple nominee at this year’s Cesar awards (the French Oscars), “The Intouchables” is a feel-good movie about a distinctly feel-bad subject: quadriplegia. The fact-based story, which focuses on the relationship between Philippe (Francois Cluzet), a white millionaire paralyzed in a paragliding accident, and Driss (Omar Sy), the black hustler who becomes his live-in caregiver, neatly avoids most of the mess and stress of the subject while focusing on all the fun.


Aside from a scene or two hinting at Driss’s initial reluctance to change Philippe’s diapers, and a couple of sequences in which Philippe is shown having difficulty breathing in the middle of the night, there’s little to suggest that there’s anything terribly disagreeable -- for either party -- about the setup. The two go for breakneck car rides, goof around with shaving cream and, in general, have a great time.

Some of this is due to Philippe’s preference that his caregiver not feel sorry for him. And so Driss dutifully obliges, as does the movie, written and directed by the filmmaking duo of Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache (“Tellement Proches”). One disturbing scene, played for laughs, shows Driss pouring scalding tea on Philippe’s leg to test whether his employer can feel anything.

That it doesn’t get bogged down in a pity party is both the film’s greatest strength and its greatest weakness. On one hand, “The Intouchables” is to be commended for portraying Philippe as a fully rounded person -- a man who is more than his medical condition. Philippe can take a joke, even if he’s the butt of it.

But it’s also more than a little unrealistic.

Another troubling aspect is Driss’s role in the narrative, which comes dangerously close to what’s known as the “Magic Negro” syndrome. Driss, whose primary function seems to be as a conduit for Philippe to reconnect with the life force he’s forgotten, could use a little less condescension to avoid becoming a racial cliche. Although the film glances at the world of drugs, crime, unemployment and poverty out of which Driss comes -- mostly through a subplot involving his troubled young relative (Cyril Mendy) -- for the most part it glosses over unpleasantness.

Maybe that’s what people like about the movie. Neither Driss’s condition nor Philippe’s is seen as defining or even especially limiting. Without being overtly political, there’s a whiff of conservative self-reliance throughout “The Intouchables.”

That said, there also are a number of nice, if vaguely “Odd Couple”-ish moments. A scene in which Philippe drags Driss to a four-hour opera is pretty darn funny. And another -- during which Driss loosens up Philippe’s stodgy birthday party by dancing to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland” -- is fairly heartbreaking, if only for the look of joy and longing on Philippe’s face.

Cluzet, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Dustin Hoffman, was nominated for a best actor Cesar. He probably deserves it as much as Sy, who took home that prize.

The lens through which the “The Intouchables” was filmed may be too rose-colored for some people’s taste, but the window that these talented performers throw open -- a window onto the strange and touching friendship between two very different men -- is crystal clear.

Contains obscenity, drug use and some suggestive material. In French with English subtitles.

source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/movies/the-intouchables-intouchable,1224561/critic-review.html

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10 Reasons You’ll Love ‘The Intouchables’

September 20, 2012

By Kristin Fritz


Here at Word & Film, our focus is so heavily trained on adaptations that, admittedly, we sometimes fall behind on movies not adapted from books and some gems get by us. But every once in a while, a non-adapted film comes onto our radar that is so touching, so affecting, and so poignant that we temporarily lose our minds and forget all things adaptation. “The Intouchables” is such a movie.

In 2011, a low-budget French film landed quietly in French theaters. The dark comedy, based on a true story about a wealthy quadriplegic and the man from the wrong side of the tracks he hires to become his caretaker, has since grossed $324 million worldwide, making it the largest-grossing French film ever. It’s just come to light, too, that France has submitted it for Oscar consideration for Best Foreign Film. “The Intouchables,” written and directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano and starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, made its appearance on the Stateside film festival circuit in April 2012, and was introduced in limited U.S. theaters in May. It grossed less than $150k its opening weekend in the U.S. This writer first heard of it in August, and finally saw it in September, at which time it’s pulling in more than $11 million on weekends. Talk about a sleeper hit.

“The Intouchables” is the kind of movie you can’t stop talking about, that you must tell everyone who will listen to go see. It’s why we’re bringing you into the loop. Oh, and we’ve rationalized that  “The Intouchables” is an adaptation of sorts: an adaptation of a true story. Though we worry about the fact that The Weinstein Company has bought American remake rights to the movie, we thank Harvey and company for bringing it to American theaters, as they also did with 2011’s “The Artist.” So here, without further ado, we present for your consideration the ten reasons we think you’ll fall in love with the film.

10. The soundtrack

The opening scene of ‘The Intouchables’ begins benignly enough: Two men in a slick black car, stuck in traffic in nighttime Paris. Suddenly, the car is off, from zero to lightning fast in seconds, set to Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi’s “Fly.” And we’re engrossed. From Earth Wind & Fire to Vivaldi, the music throughout the movie does what great soundtracks do: It sucks us in, keeps us engaged, orchestrates the tone, and helps develop the theme. (Listen to the soundtrack on Spotify here.)

9. “The Intouchables” is based on a true story

Films based on fiction are certainly so often brilliantly conceived, created, and executed, it’s true. But with a story like this, one so unlikely and so heartwarming in spite of — or more likely because of — its characters, whose own gritty truths threaten to break them, viewers are ultimately united in their restored faith in the ability of humanity and humor to keep even the worst-off afloat.

8. The subtitles
Following the summer blockbuster season, we’re all kind of burned out on the big’uns. Sure, “The Dark Knight Rises Again,” “The Hunger Games,” “Spider-Man” et al were fun for the season, but for everything they had in quality they had twice as much in big, banging, pulse-pounding entertainment. And ultimately, they were so, well, American. We don’t disparage these films for this; the escape from reality that they offer is one of the greatest things about the domestic box office. For a temporary foray into French filmmaking, however, and for the universality of humor and grace, spend 113 minutes reading along with “The Intouchables.”

7. Francois Cluzet
Francois Cluzet plays the role of the complex character, quadriplegic Philippe. He is so subtly perfect in this role, never evoking pity even when walking Driss through his history, of the tragedy that led him to take the risk that left him permanently paralyzed from the neck down. His nuanced performance has viewers holding their collective breath, waiting – will he laugh or explode? His acceptance of Driss is never naïve. And his smile and laughter believable through every moment of the film.

6. The irreverence
“The Intouchables” has been criticized for being racist in its depiction of a black man from the projects and also for poking fun at a physical disability (see: The humor, No. 5), two no-no’s in modern cinema. But such disparities in society do still exist; there are still rich white men who go to the opera and have a full staff at their disposal, and there are still black people living in poverty in the projects to whom the opera is completely foreign. Is this racist? Or are these pieces of the movie simply facts relevant to the story? And as for the fun-poking, the character of Philippe is terrified of pity; pity’s opposite is respect, and from this female’s perspective, male respect is so often expressed in humor. Ultimately, “The Intouchables” is among many things a film about acceptance, so somehow when these two aspects for which it’s been criticized should never work at all, they respectfully work here.

5. The humor
There are certain topics that are off limits in comedy. Sometimes, though, with varying degrees of success, comedians tread through those topics. And even as an audience laughs, it cringes. “The Intouchables” lets go with more than a few jokes that shouldn’t slide so seamlessly into the dialogue. But they do. Partially because of the context, partially because of our belief in the genuine nature of the character who makes them, partially because the target of the joke often laughs right along with the rest of us. There is nothing precious about the comedy in this darkly comic drama.

4. The point
Here’s what I took away from the film: People often come together because they need one another, but ultimately stay together because they like one another. It’s a beautiful way to fall into a relationship, platonic or otherwise, and allows for an ease in getting to know one another. There’s no awkward small talk; you’re here for a purpose. But then, suddenly, in between tasks and responsibilities, comes conversation. Philippe needed a caretaker; Driss needed a signature to receive his unemployment benefit. And before long, they need each other in ways they could never have predicted.

3. Omar Sy
Who is this man? And why are we only now hearing of him? Remember when, suddenly, everyone in America knew who Audrey Tatou was thanks to “Amelie”? Yeah, we want the same for Sy. In the meantime, we’ll update our Netflix queue with the only other U.S.-available film he’s appeared in, “Micmacs.”

2. The lack of sentimentality

Two main characters with tragedy-sodden stories come together under unlikely circumstances to grow into themselves despite their already advancing ages, and grow into a friendship of the purest kind. This has “sappy” written all over it, no? But thanks to the fabulous writing, directing, and acting, you will never roll your eyes, never feel like you know the story already, and as a result of all of this, you will never want it to end.

1. It’s fabulous filmmaking
In a nutshell, “The Intouchables” is brilliantly filmed. Co-directors and -writers Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, after first learning of this story via a 2004 documentary, made the story their own. The grit of the projects and the lights of Paris, the juxtaposition between wealth and poverty, the perfectly choreographed narrowing gap between two characters who would never have come to know one another if not for their unique circumstances, and the music and timing choices all come together to make a perfect movie. This is one you shouldn’t let pass you by.

source: http://www.wordandfilm.com/2012/09/10-reasons-youll-love-the-intouchables/

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The Intouchables
Life-giving care-giving

Release Date: 2012

Ebert Rating: **½    

By Roger Ebert May 30, 2012


It might help to think of "The Intouchables" as a French spinoff of "Driving Miss Daisy," retitled "Pushing Monsieur Philippe." A stuffy rich employer finds his life enriched by a wise black man from the Paris ghettos and takes lessons in funky music and the joys of marijuana. This is a story that has been told time and again in the movies, and sometimes the performances overcome the condescension of the formula.

The film was an enormous box-office hit in France, and indeed, it is easy to enjoy. Philippe (Francois Cluzet) is a millionaire who was paralyzed from the neck down in a para-gliding accident. Driss (Omar Sy) is a man out on parole for robbery, who applies for the job of Philippe's caregiver only so he can be rejected and get a signature on his application for unemployment benefits. As Philippe interviews one boring job applicant after another, we begin to understand that he needs not only physical help but someone to cheer him up. Driss' cheeky irreverence is refreshing, and Philippe astonishes him and his own household staff by offering him the job.

The movie tells the story of a growing relationship between these two likable men, based on Driss' confidence that Philippe will improve if he escapes his stuck-up lifestyle and samples the greater freedoms of an immigrant from Africa. There may be a certain truth in this, but the education of Philippe proceeds in a series of essentially insulting cliches. Driss, you see, has rhythm and soul, and if only Philippe can absorb some of that, he'll be a happier man. He'll still be a French millionaire surrounded by a protective staff, he'll still be paralyzed, but he'll be happier. How many times have we seen the scene where an uptight square inhales pot for the first time and a smile slowly spreads across his face?

"The Intouchables" has an element of truth that it never quite recognizes. The role of a good caregiver is hardly limited to lifting, bathing, grooming, dressing, pushing and supplying medicines. The patient is faced with a reality he finds it difficult to accept: he has been deprived of all he once took for granted, such as the simple ability to walk across a room. A caregiver can't provide that, but he can provide something more valuable, companionship. Philippe's wife is dead, his teenage daughter is a snotty brat, and his staff is preoccupied by their salaries and status. Driss comes from a different world.

The success of the film, despite its problems, grows directly from its casting. Francois Cluzet, who acts only with his face and voice, communicates great feeling. Omar Sy is enormously friendly and upbeat. He reminded me of the African immigrant played by Souleymane Sy Savane in Ramin Bahrani's "Goodbye Solo" — a film that avoided the traps that "The Intouchables" falls into.

The appeal of a film like this, and it is perfectly legitimate, is that when we begin to feel affection for the characters, what makes them happy make us happy. Caught up in the flow of events, we allow many assumptions to pass unchallenged. The writer-directors, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, are cheerfully willing to go for broad gags, and their style is ingratiating. But at the end, by looking through the foreground details, what we're being given is a simplistic reduction of racial stereotypes.

That was also true of "Driving Miss Daisy," but it was a period picture set in the South in the late 1940s, with older characters who had been shaped by their times. There was a plausibility there. "The Intouchables" is more of a soothing fantasy.

Cast & Credits

Philippe Francois Cluzet
Driss Omar Sy
Yvonne Anne Le Ny
Magalie Audrey Fleurot

The Weinstein Co. presents a film written and directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. In French, with English subtitles. Running time: 112 minutes. Rated R (for language and some drug use).

source: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120530/REVIEWS/120539995/1023

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Class Act

By Vivienne Walt / Paris
Monday, June 04, 2012



If you drive North out of paris toward Charles de Gaulle Airport, the city's grand buildings and boulevards give way to high-rise housing projects that stretch on for miles, sealed off from the highway by concrete barriers. Dominated by Arab and African immigrants and beset by high unemployment rates, these working-class suburbs, or banlieues, rarely get a big-screen closeup. But one of them, Bondy, is now immortalized in France's megahit comedy The Intouchables, about the unlikely, life-changing friendship between a rich white quadriplegic and his poor black caregiver from the banlieues. Filmed partly in Bondy, The Intouchables is the highest-grossing French movie of all time; an estimated 1 in 3 people in France has seen it. Budgeted at just $12 million, the film has raked in more than $340 million worldwide--it was the No. 1 movie in Germany for nine weeks straight--and the Weinstein Co. opens it in the U.S. in limited release on May 25.

For some residents of Bondy, the movie's enormous success transcends profit. "I cried when I saw the film, because this is where I am from," says Youness Bourimech, a local entrepreneur whose Moroccan parents raised him in one of Bondy's aging projects and who has seen the film four times. "It shows that it is possible to come from the banlieues and make something good of your life."

No one captures that sense of possibility as vividly as the film's lead actor, Omar Sy. He plays Driss, an ex-convict of African descent who, as part of his new job, goes from living in a cramped, drafty apartment with his immigrant family to a sprawling mansion on Paris' Left Bank, where he sleeps under a Renaissance painting, tears around town in a Maserati and conspires to find a love interest for his disabled employer, Philippe (Franois Cluzet). Sy, 34, commands The Intouchables with his rapid-fire banter, devil-may-care nerve and live-wire physicality. In February, he became the first black man to win the Best Actor Cesar, France's equivalent of the Academy Award, beating out The Artist's Oscar-winning Jean Dujardin. Sy is perhaps France's biggest black star--and becoming one of its biggest stars, period.

For Sy (pronounced See), Driss was an intimately familiar figure and, he says, a "bittersweet" one. The fourth of eight children, Sy grew up in an impoverished housing project west of Paris in Trappes, home to thousands of African and Arab immigrants. His Senegalese father worked in an auto-parts factory; his mother, newly arrived from Mauritania, cleaned office buildings, just as Driss's aunt does in the film. "There are two Frances that exist side by side," Sy says over coffee one morning in the office of his wife, a publicist, in Paris' tony 16th arrondissement. "For me, it was only when I started to work that I saw the other France, that I heard other ways of speaking. We always knew it existed. But we didn't ever see it."

Much like his character in The Intouchables, Sy crossed the class-color line thanks to one key person--in Sy's case, the well-known French-Moroccan actor Jamel Debbouze, a close childhood friend from Trappes. When Sy was 18, Debbouze began inviting him to do sketches and impersonations on a comedy show he created for Paris' Radio Nova, some of them in the slang of the banlieues, an idiom rarely heard on French airwaves in the mid-'90s. Sy built on his fame at Canal Plus television as one half of the wildly popular comedy team Omar and Fred; their two-minute sketch show is still a nightly feature of French prime time. "He was really funny, a charming, sympathetic guy," says Bernard Zekri, who worked at Canal Plus then and is now editor in chief of the French cultural magazine Les Inrockuptibles. "Sy is almost an idol among French youth," Zekri adds. "He has credibility because he comes from Trappes."

Sy lends a lot of credibility to The Intouchables, a broad farce that doesn't tinker much with its familiar buddy-movie formula. The Hollywood Reporter called it "corny, calculating and commercial," while other critics have suggested it traffics in ethnic stereotypes. In the U.S., Variety charged that Driss and Philippe's relationship is tarnished by "Uncle Tom racism"--a peculiarly American accusation to aim at a very French film but also a hint that the movie's coarse charms may not translate as easily in the States as they have in Europe. In case The Intouchables 1.0 doesn't touch a nerve in the U.S., Harvey Weinstein has also acquired the English-language-remake rights, though that version would likely be missing the original's keystone: Omar Sy. Whatever the flaws of The Intouchables, Sy's charisma leaps off the screen. With his rubbery smile and rollicking laugh, he turns Driss into an everyman hero capable of single-handedly smashing the racial divide.

The seismic popularity of The Intouchables spurred weeks of soul-searching among talking heads on French TV: Why did a slapstick romp about interracial, interclass brotherhood catch fire among the populace? Part of it was the leading man, and part of it was timing: the movie opened in November, near the kickoff of a toxic presidential campaign in which candidates continually one-upped one another with anti-immigrant rhetoric. Embattled President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed halving immigration quotas and vowed to ban halal meat from public schools. Far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen pinned France's financial woes in good measure on immigrants and went on to win 18% of the first-round vote. (Her father, extreme rightist and career xenophobe Jean-Marie Le Pen, saw The Intouchables as a cautionary metaphor: "France is like this handicapped person stuck in this wheelchair," he said, "and we are going to have to wait for the help of these banlieue youngsters and immigrants in general." Weinstein called his statements "repulsive.") Meanwhile, a group supporting the eventual victor, Socialist Franois Hollande, created a cheeky pro-Hollande campaign video shot partly in the banlieues and scored to Jay-Z and Kanye West's propulsive "richard simmons in Paris."

Especially amid a stormy election season and economic stagnation, "there is a kind of rupture in French society," says Dominique Sopo, president of SOS Racisme, an antidiscrimination organization in Paris. "A good part of the French population knows nothing about the banlieues where immigrant-origin people live. There is real tension around unemployment and the economic crisis, rooted in a politics that is oriented toward scapegoats." In this poisonous environment, the melting-pot humanity of The Intouchables was a blast of sweet fresh air. "Here was a message that we could all live together," Zekri says. "It clicked with people."

For the people of the banlieues, the rupture that Sopo describes cuts deep. Unemployment in Bondy hovers around 20%, double the national average. Bondy resident Bourimech estimates that only 2 of every 10 people he grew up with have middle-class jobs. According to Mahmoud Bourassi, the director of a community center in Bondy, one of the many challenges that communities in the banlieues face is a tangible psychological alienation from Paris' prosperous zones. "For people here, there is an invisible wall around the pripherique," Bourassi says, referring to the highway that rings Paris' 20 arrondissements. "We talk about people on 'the other side.'"

Sy has passed through that invisible wall. His life has changed markedly since his Trappes days. He now lives in a semirural town on the outskirts of Paris with his wife and four children. To prepare for The Intouchables, Sy spent time back in Trappes, where much of his family still lives. "I thought I'd lost some of those reflexes, the way of talking," he says. "But it was not gone, because I grew up there." He remembers the days before he was a national celebrity, when his wife, who is white, would go alone to scope out apartments for them to rent. "Otherwise we wouldn't get anything," Sy says. "For me, those days are over. But they are not over in France."

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2115622,00.html

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Credits: Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano and starring François Cluzet and Omar Sy.

Details: (M), 112mins, France,

Synopsis: When a millionaire (Francois Cluzet) becomes a quadriplegic after a paragliding accident, he hires Senegalese ex-con Driss (Omar Sy) to take care of him. Despite their differences in class and culture, an unlikely friendship soon develops, founded in honesty and humour.

Genres: Comedy, Drama

True story turns into French smash hit.
The Intouchables Review / Lisa Nesselson

"Something about this movie has the power to federate."

Deep breath: The Intouchables is a well-made feel-good movie about overcoming adversity and revising one's outlook for the better through an unlikely but salutary, mutually enriching alliance. People everywhere love it. (Well, except Russia.) The End.

The Intouchables, the fourth film written and directed by the French duo of Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, has achieved what every storytelling artist and entertainer dreams of: near-universal success.

In the year since the film began its meteoric rise in its native France, pundits and critics (while praising the film, for the most part) have been scratching their heads, trying to figure out why this well-cast and entertaining but hardly earth-shaking bittersweet comedy has enjoyed such run-away success.

Just how successful has it been? Three million people purchased tickets in a matter of days and the tally currently stands at 20 million tickets sold in France. (One million tickets sold confers hit status on all but the biggest budget movies and The Intouchables had a relatively modest budget of about US$10.5 million. It has taken in over $385 million and counting.) One out of every 3.25 people in France has paid to see it on the big screen. (With attendance figures like that, just think: If subliminal advertising really worked, a sneaky message between frames urging people to stop smoking or queue up neatly in public places might have changed the behaviour of an entire nation.)

As of this writing, over 23 million people have paid to see The Intouchables outside France, with 25 million a distinct possibility. People everywhere love it. (Well, except Russia.) Despite a climate of ongoing financial crisis, the film has attracted crowds in Greece, Italy and Spain. Half a million people have seen it in Israel. What is it they're flocking to see?

An obscenely wealthy and culturally refined white male quadriplegic hires a healthy young black fellow from the projects with a criminal record and no medical training to be his caregiver. With a premise like that, you're probably in such a hurry to get to the nearest movie theatre that you'll stop reading right here.

When it was released in South Korea in March, 450,000 people went to see it in 4 days. Nobody knows why. By September over 1.7 million filmgoers had bought a ticket.

In September The Intouchables surpassed Amelie as the most-seen French-language film ever outside of France. It is the French entry in the Best Foreign Language film category at the Oscars. (Impress-your-friends trivia: France makes over 250 films a year and it is up to a committee of 7 people to select the one movie that will represent the nation in the Foreign Language race at the Academy Awards. Apparently this year it was between two films from writer-directors whose main protagonist happens to be in a wheelchair: Francois Cluzet as Philippe in The Intouchables and Marion Cotillard as the double amputee survivor of a marine mammal attack in Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone.)

As one of those aforementioned head-scratchers, I am comforted by an interview with Nakache and Toledano in the trade paper Le Film Français of 28 September in which the lucky filmmakers state: "The film struck some sort of nerve that we're at a loss to explain ourselves."

Why would people all over the world (well, except Russia, where the film flopped) care about the romanticised true story of multi-millionaire quadriplegic Philippe Pozzo Di Borgo and his ex-criminal, socially disadvantaged Algerian caregiver, here turned into a strapping black man of Senegalese heritage?

Omar Sy, who plays Driss, is handsome and athletic and exudes charisma, aided by a lovely toothy smile. There has been much mention of his charisma, which was known to French pay-television viewers and some filmgoers. But he was no better known outside France than the proverbial hole-in-the-wall when the film began to take other territories by storm. It is the most-seen French-language film ever in Germany, for example, where an astonishing 8.6 million tickets have been sold. And Pozzo Di Borgo's autobiography is a best selling volume there, too, since the film's release. According to audience research, people in well-to-do areas like the film as much as people in low-income areas. Disabled people have praised the film's pity-free approach to disabilities. The directors have received thousands of touching and enthusiastic letters from wheelchair users worldwide.

When I saw The Intouchables at a sold-out commercial screening shortly after it opened in Paris, there really were audience members from 8 to 80. And they really did laugh and cry and leave the premises saying to the strangers around them "Wasn't that terrific?" and "Now, that’s what I call a movie!"

Something about this movie has the power to federate. That said, there are a few exceptions.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the xenophobic, right-wing political party the National Front, had no use for the film and said so. Of course, he did so from a subset of film criticism that leaves something to be desired: He hadn't actually seen the movie and didn't intend to. But he made it known that he didn't care for the theory that the middle-aged white guy in the wheelchair represents stratified old-fashioned France and the strong and healthy black guy represents the energy of non-white populations from immigrant stock who are the alleged future of the nation.

The English-language trade reviews pointed out how formulaic the story is while also predicting box office success. There is serious talk of an American remake perhaps starring Colin Firth as the disabled fellow. But remaking The Intouchables seems like a needless venture in so much as the original is already pretty much a Hollywood movie. Its protagonists are ripe for growth and change at the start and by the end they've grown and changed for the better. Driss is more polite and has been exposed to classical music and modern art. Philippe is no longer depressed and he knows more about popular music than he did.

One might say their status as outsiders brought them together. We'd all like to believe that with a little mutual respect and an open mind it's possible to bridge the divide of race and class.

Our two heroes are not superheroes – they're just regular guys who have had different advantages and hardships in life. Cluzet (the main character in Tell No One) is superb as Philippe, who dreads being pitied. And Sy is infectiously entertaining as Driss, although it's hard not to cringe when he dances for his white employer to the kind of music cliché purveyors assume people who look like him listen to instead of Mozart.

It's also hard to picture what sort of story would emerge if the roles were reversed – if the poor black guy with a criminal record ended up in a wheelchair unable to move from the neck down, what's the likelihood that a white aristocrat would become his intimate caregiver and best friend?

When assessing its capacity to entertain audiences outside the country of origin, movie analysts speak of a film's ability to "travel". The Intouchables has traveled almost as much as Hillary Clinton. The run-away success of The Intouchables in its native France and beyond almost makes one believe in conspiracy theories about a spray that can compel people to see a given film without ever suspecting what planted the idea in their ticket-purchasing minds. The original French poster was nothing special, there was no catchy theme song and the ad campaign was not excessive. And then there's the title: The Intouchables. The publications that still use ink used up a lot of it speculating on what in the world the title actually means. Because, not unlike the far-catchier Reservoir Dogs, the title's meaning is, well, a mystery. Does it mean that the two main characters are outcasts like the untouchable caste in India? Does it mean that when the two of them join forces they're invincible and nobody can ‘touch’ them?

Amelie's international popularity is far easier to understand. That movie takes place in a heightened version of the slightly idealised Paris we all carry in our heads. (Anybody can come to Paris and visit the café where Amelie extolled the virtues of crème brùlée – director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's neighbourhood café in Montmartre. My editor at the time argued with me that it was obviously a set built on a soundstage, but it wasn't.)

A few contrarians griped that Amelie overlooked the gritty and multicultural parts of the real Paris. That came across like complaining that few newspaper reporters in Rome are as gorgeous as Gregory Peck is in Roman Holiday.

Apart from being inspired by a true story, what does The Intouchables have going for it, 11 years later, that has made it even more popular than Amelie ever was? (While Amelie ranked as that year's most-seen film in France, over twice as many locals have gone to see Intouchables.)

The Intouchables is a comedy. Driss has a lively and irreverent sense of humour. He shows no pity for Philippe's handicap, which is what attracted Philippe to Driss in the first place.

There is at least one joke that isn't really funny but has French audiences roaring with laughter. Philippe experiences frequent residual pain from within, but he can't feel any external stimulus from the neck down. Driss accidentally spills boiling water on his employer's bare leg. Dazzled by the fact that Philippe doesn't flinch, he continues to pour boiling water on Philippe's vulnerable exposed flesh while saying the equivalent of "Well, will you look at that! I'll be damned!"

That never happened in real life, where at least second degree burns rather than laughter would have been the result. But the film recreates one of the pranks the two men did enjoy, namely Driss deliberately breaking the speed limit on Paris roads until their pricey car was pulled over by police. Philippe would then pretend to be having a seizure and the two fakers would not only not get a ticket but would be given a police escort to the nearest hospital. Call me a curmudgeon, but I'm not sure what's so hilarious about driving at dangerous speeds on a public thoroughfare for kicks as a prelude to misleading officers of the law.

Philippe is ridiculously wealthy. The opulence of his existence is a given in the film; we're not told how he came by his wealth. (The second son of a duke, the real fellow is a genuine aristocrat who ran a prominent champagne firm. He was paralysed following a 1993 paragliding accident although he had made hundreds of paragliding flights.) In the film, Philippe lives in a private mansion in central Paris, with servants. He owns fabulous sports cars and a private jet.

Most people like comedies about really rich individuals because they tend to live in lavish settings and engage in desirable-looking activities that give the rest of us a thrill by proxy. We can feel filthy rich for an hour or two without the drudgery of attending shareholder meetings or hiring staff to polish the silver.

There's the argument that the film is "based on a true story”. We know that the real aristocrat whose story it is approves of the film. We know that disabled people massively endorse it. And we also know that one true aspect has been modified in a non-negligible way: the real caregiver is one Abdel Sellou, a self-described "ugly" fellow born in Algeria. The filmmakers wrote the part for easy-on-the-eyes Sy, who has appeared in all of their previous movies.

It's a buddy comedy between two men who should never have met, whose backgrounds are so different they may as well hail from different planets.

Now that The Intouchables is France's official contender for one of the five slots in the Foreign Language Oscar category, Harvey Weinstein, who bought the distribution rights for the U.S. (where the film has attracted a little over a million customers) will do whatever it is he does to bludgeon Academy voters into voting for films he has had a hand in making and/or distributing. (For the record, Mr. Weinstein didn't have a thing to do with actually making The Artist and yet, somehow, in deference to his marketing acumen, people who should know better started referring it to it as "Harvey Weinstein's The Artist.")

While the French enjoy artistic recognition as much as the next nation, they find it mildly distasteful to campaign for anything except political office. Régine Hatchando, who heads the French movie trade organisation UniFrance, is understandably proud of the film's success abroad despite (a phrase you may not hear every day) "American cultural imperialism”. Hatchando points out that American films occupy as much as 90% of the international market "and France holds 2 to 3 percent which, all the same, puts us in second place in the global market!"

J.K. Rowling has given countless readers worldwide page-turning pleasure but we would all be uncomfortable were she to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The same principle applies to Intouchables where Oscars are concerned.

Is The Intouchables an enjoyable movie if you overlook a few potentially queasy-making scenes? Absolutely. Is it great filmmaking in the neighbourhood of art? Nope.

source: http://www.sbs.com.au/films/movie/14184/the-intouchables

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Omar Sy Tells How 'Intouchables' Turned a Comic Into One of France's Most Touching Actors

Published: November 23, 2012 @ 9:59 am

By Chris Willman

In some ways, Omar Sy is France’s Eddie Murphy—a familiar TV comic turned big-screen star. But, as TheWrap's editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman pointed out during a Q&A with Sy on Tuesday night, you could really see him as France’s Sidney Poitier. This year Sy became the first black actor ever to win a Cesar, for the international hit “The Intouchables,” which is getting its share of awards-time attention on this side of the Atlantic, too.


Sy told a packed crowd at the Landmark Theatre that it’s “fantastic” to be the first to break the race barrier for French cinema accolades, but “hopefully there will be a time when that denomination --the ‘first black’ or ‘first North African’ -- will be meaningless and it doesn’t matter who it is. That’s the hopeful place to look forward to.”

Class clearly strikes Sy as a more provocative topic than race, and at the Wrap’s screening, he eagerly addressed how he believes “Intouchables” -- the second highest grossing film in French history -- deals with separatist taboos rarely taken on in French cinema.

He plays Driss, a down-on-his-luck inhabitant of the projects who takes on a job as a live-in caretaker for the insanely wealthy Phillipe (Francois Cluzet), who became paralyzed from the neck down in a paragliding accident. Theirs becomes the kind of unlikely, fraught-with-comedy friendship that gives the buddy movie a good name again, so it’s no wonder the Weinstein Company has an American remake in the works.

The dramedy is based on a true story, and when Waxman asked if Sy had been nervous about how the two real-life models for the lead roles would like the film, the actor said he’d only been concerned about getting one thing right: “They gave the right to make the movie on one condition: make people laugh. That’s the only condition. They saw the movie and… they laughed.”

The largely mirthful tone goes a long way toward disguising any medicine that might be going down, but Sy is dead serious when it comes to the rapprochement he believes the film can help foster in a divided country.

“It’s two Frances,” he said. “I come from the suburbs, the banlieues, and now I know the [upper class areas] and I’m welcome there. It was not true a few years ago. In the movie you see the two Frances meet and love each other. My hope is that, one day, the two Frances can live together. But before that, they have to know each other. If you don’t your neighbor, don’t know what he’s thinking, what’s behind him, you can’t advance. A lot of the struggles of France are about that incomprehension. You may be on the same team, but if you don’t know each other, you can’t play ball. Our strength with this film is that it’s a true story, so nobody can say it’s not possible. It’s happened.”

TV comedy and dramatic film are typically separate realms, too, but Sy has easily navigated the leap.

“I had a little TV show in France—two minutes every single day,” he said. “It was a lot of work and a lot of responsibility to make people laugh every day. Eric (Toledano) and Olivier (Nakache, the two writer-directors) came to me ten years ago, and they asked me, ‘Do you want to play in our movie?’ I tell them, ‘But you know, I’m not an actor!’ They say, ‘It’s okay, we are not really directors.’ We start like that. But for me, it was not a project to be an actor.”


It helped that he became good enough friends with the filmmakers over the subsequent years it took to bring the movie to fruition that “they wrote the script for me. It was tailor-made.” Though many of the comedic interchanges in the film seem spontaneous, the directors “know me so well, I didn’t need to improvise. There’s much less improv in this film than in any other film I’ve made before.”

Playing off of one of France’s most revered actors, was predictably intimidating, at least at first. “He’s one of my homeboys,” said Sy, getting a laugh. “When they say to me ‘You’re going to play with Francois Cluzet,, I say, [nervously] ‘…Okay, it’s good.’ I was scared. Because I’m like an intern!

“But I met François and he give me a real key. He said, ‘You play for me, I’ll play for you. We are equal.’ That was the key. He removed all of the misgivings or fears. He was saying he needs me, just like I need him… One of my fears was that I didn’t have any formal training as an actor and would be at a disadvantage relying on my instincts. But I discovered that François also worked very closely with his instincts, and therefore it was okay, because even though I was less experienced, we were operating on the same level.”


Cluzet isn’t the only actor playing a lead character who has no mobility from the neck down; the same is true of John Hawkes in “The Sessions.” Sy was particularly aware of the challenge Cluzet faced “because François is like a volcanic person, so it was very difficult for him to play that. But he’s a very brilliant actor, and he used to say, ‘It’s not difficult to do nothing.’ That was his answer.”

Though he got to use his entire body, Sy faced his own challenges in making Driss an utterly lovable character without piling on the saintliness, and there’s plenty of evidence on view that the character has a criminal past and is not the most responsible family man.

“For me, this character was very good because it’s the first time in a French film that you can see a character from the suburbs of Paris and he carries positive values—but we have to be careful and be accurate and tell the truth.

Because you can be tender and have love for people, but you have your background, you have your sadness, you have your violence. People are very complex. So you have to link the chains.”

“The Intouchables” has been a game-changer for Sy, to say the least. “I can’t leave this movie! But I have to go on and move forward.” He mentioned four films that have either come out already in France or will be out before April, including “Mood Indigo,” a French-language film from U.S. favorite Michel Gondry.

But “this movie changed my life,” he said, “and now it’s a part of my life. I’m here in Los Angeles. I speak English!” he exulted. As recently as this past summer, he would only answer interview questions in French, using a translator—but at the Wrap’s Q&A, he only responded in French for about a fourth of his answers.

But it’s not just spending time in Los Angeles doing promotion and the Oscars circuit that’s made a difference for Sy. “Something changed after the movie. Before the movie, people came to me and said, ‘Ah, cool, you’re the guy. Bye bye!’ After the movie, people came to me and say [deeply] ‘Thank you.’ It was very touching, and those thank-yous actually showed me that the work I did could transcend and have a special significance for people. It really made me aware and brought to my consciousness the responsibility that came with it.

source: http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/omar-sy-tells-how-intouchables-turned-comic-one-frances-most-touching-actors-66246?page=0,0

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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
The Intouchables
Directed by Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Sony Pictures 05/12 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - language, some drug use


"The first step in caregiving is to let go of our ideas about what it means to be a helpful, compassionate caregiver. These mental images set standards that easily lead to disappointment, frustration and self-doubt. The direct experience of giving care is new every moment and leads us into unfamiliar directions. We gather experience along the way, but with each encounter we must show up, stay present to what is actually happening, and see what occurs."
— The Caregiver's Tao Te Ching by William and Nancy Martin


Philippe (Francois Cluzet) is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a paragliding accident. He lives in a luxurious Paris apartment with his spoiled teenage daughter (Alba Gaia Bellugi) and members of his staff. Since his accident he has gone through a large number of caregivers, and now he's interviewing more. After a long wait, Driss (Omar Sy) barrages impatiently into the interview room. He's really there to get someone to sign his form saying he applied for a job and was rejected so that he can receive unemployment benefits. There is something about this Senegalese man's vitality, cockiness, and sensuality that appeals to Philippe. Much to the dismay of his pretty red-headed assistant, Magalie (Audrey Fleurot), he hires the brash young man for a one-month trial. As a caregiver, Driss comes with no ideas about his work. That means he is ready to respond naturally with whatever comes up.


"When caring for others,
remain behind them.
Help them,
but do not control them.
Serve them,
but do not manipulate them.
Attend them,
but do not diminish them."

— The Caregiver's Tao Te Ching by William and Nancy Martin


Driss moves into Philippe's apartment. His spacious bedroom with a private bathroom is quite a contrast to his family's apartment that is full of children of all ages. We can assume it is also very different from the prison where he spent six months for his involvement in a robbery. During his training period, Driss learns all the details of caring for a quadriplegic and soon masters the task of lifting him from his bed to his wheel-chair. He is on call even during the evening when Philippe is subject to heavy breathing and copious sweating. Driss wheels him out into the night for a breath of fresh air.


"How can we ever know
if we are truly being helpful?
We have no grand plan
for making everything better.
We can't be sure that what we do
brings help
or harm."

— The Caregiver's Tao Te Ching by William and Nancy Martin


Among the pleasures that this creative caregiver shares with his new friend are speeding down the highway, smoking marijuana, having the erogenous zones of both ears massaged, talking to his daughter about getting rid of her bad attitude, and listening to music by Earth, Wind, and Fire. On his part, Philippe introduces his new friend to modern art and the opera. While Driss can't stop laughing during the latter, he does his own abstract painting and Philippe gets it sold on the art market.


"The door of caregiving opens into freedom,
and we are able to simply be here.
That is all we have to give
and all that is ever needed."

— The Caregiver's Tao Te Ching by William and Nancy Martin


The Intouchables is written and directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakacheo based on a true story (pictures of the two men are presented during the closing credits). This character-driven drama opens the door to some interesting ideas about the informal, spontaneous, playful, and laughter-filled dimensions of caregiving. In a very touching way it also makes it quite clear the terrible isolation and loneliness of quadriplegic and other handicapped individuals. In one of his most tender and kind acts Drisss encourages Philippe to reach out for a woman with whom he can converse and then move on to intimacy.

The performances by Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy are both top-drawer. His stunning physical presence, buoyant laughter, and sexy dance moves help make Omar Sy one of 2012 breakout actors.


"There is no independent existence.
In caring for another person,
we ourselves are cared for."

— The Caregiver's Tao Te Ching by William and Nancy Martin

source: www.spiritualityandpractice.com/films/films.php?id=22913

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“The Intouchables”: Racial comedy, French style

"The Intouchables" is the biggest foreign-language film of all time. Some critics say it's also racist.

By Andrew O'Hehir

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 09:45 PM +0100

A still from "The Intouchables"

Here’s a startling news item: “The Intouchables,” a lively if largely predictable Parisian comedy about a wealthy quadriplegic and his ne’er-do-well immigrant caretaker, has become the biggest international success in the history of French cinema. Indeed, according to some sources — and these things are notoriously difficult to measure on a global and historical scale — “The Intouchables” is now the biggest non-Anglophone film of all time, with a worldwide gross approaching $300 million.

But beyond the business headlines, what’s really fascinating about “The Intouchables” is the way it exposes the gulf in racial attitudes between France and the United States, along with another gulf that’s just as wide, the one that has film critics and cinephiles on one side and popular audiences on the other. Viewers in numerous countries have eagerly devoured this feel-good fable about two men of different races and classes who forge an improbable friendship (dubbed by some wags “Driving Monsieur Daisy”). While the audience for foreign-language film is inherently limited in America, there’s no reason to believe it won’t do well here also. At the same time, heated transatlantic debate has erupted over whether “The Intouchables” traffics in offensive racial stereotypes, with Variety critic Jay Weissberg writing an uncharacteristically angry review that accused the film of “Uncle Tom racism” and compared the Senegalese caretaker character to a “performing monkey.”

When Harvey Weinstein first acquired “The Intouchables” in the wake of its smash success in France, he clearly imagined another dark-horse Oscar contender, in the wake of “The Artist.” The film has racked up audience awards at film festival after film festival, and currently stands at No. 93 on IMDb’s user-generated “Top 250? list. Omar Sy, the charismatic Afro-French actor who plays Driss, the caretaker, won this year’s César award (the French Oscar equivalent) for best actor, beating out actual Oscar winner Jean Dujardin. But with the looming possibility that “The Intouchables” could spark a divisive, soul-searching racial debate — which was precisely what squelched the Oscar hopes of “The Help” — those expectations have been downplayed. (That isn’t why “The Intouchables” is being released this week, with Weinstein and most of the film-biz aristocracy in Cannes, but the coincidence is oddly useful.)

Let me come clean right now and tell you that I enjoyed “The Intouchables” quite a bit. If you’re looking for a lightweight summer change of pace, with just a smidgen of Continental flair, here it is. Both Sy and co-star François Cluzet (of the hit thriller “Tell No One”) are marvelous, the former playing a guy who’s constantly in motion, both physically and psychologically, and the latter playing a depressed and repressed guy who literally can’t move, but whose real imprisonment has more to do with his spirit than his spinal cord. Don’t go expecting serious French art cinema, please; those who have described this movie as something like a mid-’80s Eddie Murphy comedy dressed up with classy Parisian settings are correct. But here’s the question, and I can’t answer it for you: Is that such a bad thing, in itself?

Once is not enough for a movie that’s made this much money, of course, and Weinstein already has an American remake in the works, possibly to star Colin Firth as stick-up-butt wheelchair dude. The real Eddie Murphy has gotten too old to play the loosey-goosey, pot-smoking sidekick, but there’s no shortage of guys who could do it: Jamie Foxx is the default setting these days, but I’d go for the suddenly hot Kevin Hart from “Think Like a Man.” I’m not claiming it’s aesthetically or sociologically valid to remake a French movie that already feels like a reheated Hollywood throwback, by the way. I’m saying it’s a cruel reality, like Dutch elm disease or Adam Sandler, and there’s no way to stop it.

To get back to the case at hand, I do understand what the haters find so offensive about “The Intouchables.” (The infelicitous English title, by the way, reflects the fact that they couldn’t really get away with calling it “The Untouchables,” could they?) I was pretty taken aback by Weissberg’s vituperative review, and I tend to believe that “Uncle Tom” is one of those expressions that white people should pretty much never use. On the other hand, I can only applaud him for abandoning the balanced, analytical mode of trade-magazine criticism and saying exactly what he damn well thinks. (As for comparing a black man to a monkey — well, I understand what Weissberg was getting at, but it’s an error of rhetoric, the sort of comment that makes nuance and context disappear.) And I know for sure, from hearing friends and acquaintances in and around the movie business complain about this film, that Weissberg is not alone.

I believe that Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, the writing-directing duo who made “The Intouchables,” are innocent of any bad intentions. In fact, “innocent” isn’t a bad word overall, for this movie and the worldview it represents. The French may pride themselves on being the most worldly and sophisticated of all people, but the debate in France about race and immigration and multiculturalism — which ramped up sharply after the suburban riots of 2005 — can sometimes sound strikingly naive to American ears. Until very recently, mainstream French opinion has resisted thinking about the nation in anything except homogeneous terms, despite growing Arab and black minorities (both immigrant and native-born) and evident social problems with segregation and discrimination. (The French census, for instance, is prohibited from collecting data on race or religion, so no one really knows how many French people are black or Islamic.)

There can be no question that the characters in “The Intouchables” are stereotypes, in the broad sense. Cluzet’s character, Philippe, is an aristocratic zillionaire who lives in an astonishingly luxurious flat in central Paris. Since being injured in a paragliding accident, he’s lived inside a cocoon of money and privilege, surrounded by antiques and modern art and a bevy of assistants. Sy’s character, Driss, is easygoing, good-hearted, lustful and uncultured, and his passions run toward pretty girls, getting high and vintage American R&B. Philippe hires Driss specifically because Driss doesn’t particularly want the job — he only shows up to get a signature for his benefits card — and feels no pity for Philippe.

Which is actually a pretty good reason. You get where this is going, most likely: Driss is a pretty inept caretaker, at least at first, but is the only person Philippe knows who will relate to him man to man. There’s a bit of borderline-homophobic humor about their enforced intimacy; there are interludes with hookers and fast cars and late-night conversations fueled by booze and marijuana. Driss learns to like Mozart and modern art; Philippe learns to get down with Earth Wind & Fire and gets some valuable tips about chicks. It’s probably fair to summarize this movie as being the story of a paralyzed white man who needs the help of a younger, stronger, more virile black man to reconnect with his own masculinity, and if you want to say that narrative reflects an underlying latticework of racist attitudes, I won’t argue with you. Then there’s the complicating factor that in the real-life story on which “The Intouchables” is based, the caretaker was of Algerian origin, and hence Arab rather than black. (The filmmakers have said they wanted to cast Sy, and built the story around him, but it’s certainly possible to render other interpretations.)

But one can concede all of that while still agreeing with French historian and multicultural activist François Durpaire, who has responded to Weissberg by arguing that the huge success of “The Intouchables” is likely to have positive effects in Europe’s emerging discussion of race and culture, even if the movie relies on crude generalizations. (Durpaire adds that if “The Intouchables” is offensive, so were the “Beverly Hills Cop” movies.) Movies are not meant to be seminars in sociology, after all, and most viewers will receive “The Intouchables” as an upbeat story about two guys from vastly different circumstances who turn out to have a lot in common and help each other, etc., rather than a lesson in racial semiotics.

Perhaps the strongest endorsement for “The Intouchables” has come from aging French ultra-nationalist Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has described it as an allegory about how the future of his nation depends on disenfranchised young immigrants from the suburbs. He thinks that’s a “dreadful” vision, mind you — but, seriously, who knew that guy was so smart?

“The Intouchables” opens this week in New York and Los Angeles, with wider national release to follow.

source: http://www.salon.com/2012/05/22/the_intouchables_racial_comedy_french_style/

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class="s0""Intouchables" n'est pas plus raciste que le "Flic de Beverly Hills"...

Jay Weissberg, critique à Variety, estime qu'Intouchables "met en avant un racisme digne de l'Oncle Tom qui, on l'espère, a définitivement disparu des écrans américains". Mais "Intouchables" est-il un film raciste ? Pas si sûr...

François Durpaire

Publié le 11 décembre 2011


Atlantico : Jay Weissberg, critique à Variety, la référence en matière de cinéma à Hollywood, estimait récemment que "Bien qu'ils ne soient pas connus pour leur subtilité, les co-réalisateurs et co-scénaristes Eric Tolédano et Olivier Nakache n'ont jamais produit un film aussi choquant qu'Intouchables, qui met en avant un racisme digne de l'Oncle Tom qui, on l'espère, a définitivement disparu des écrans américains. D'ailleurs, les producteurs hollywoodiens qui ont racheté les droits du film français estiment que son scénario devra être amendé pour le public américain. Les Américains pêchent-ils par trop de politiquement correct ?

François Durpaire : Non. La France et les États-Unis n’en sont tout simplement pas au même niveau sur le plan de la diversité. Il y a une réflexion et une attention portée au traitement de la diversité qui est très ancien aux États-Unis. On peut comprendre qu'un film comme ça aux États-Unis puisse poser sans doute des problèmes. Au-delà de la communauté noire américaine, on peut se dire que les Américains sont très attentifs aux préjugés et aux stéréotypes qui sont diffusés. A tel point que certains, à la droite de la droite, ont dit dans les années 1980-1990 qu’ils ne pouvaient plus rien dire ni faire dans cette société. Et d’inventer le terme de "politically correct". Il désignait le fait que selon eux, si vous disiez un truc sur les femmes ou les Noirs on allait leur taper dessus…

Dans le cas qui nous intéresse, il s’agit clairement de stéréotypes - et non de préjugés - car le personnage n’est pas vu négativement. Le critique de Variety ne dit pas qu’on fait du Noir quelqu’un de mauvais. Il reproche qu’on parle du Noir avec tout une série de stéréotypes…

Si on veut le voir du côté positif, on peut se dire que les Américains sont très attentifs aux préjugés et aux stéréotypes qui sont diffusés. Ce qui ne veut pas dire que je trouve que les critiques sur Intouchables soient justifiées.
Les Américains sont très sensibles sur le sujet visiblement. Mais s'indignent-ils toujours pour de "bonnes raisons" ?

Selon moi non. On peut citer par exemple une polémique non justifiée sur le film de Steven Spielberg Il faut sauver le soldat Ryan. On lui reprochait qu’il n’y ait pas de Noirs débarquant en Normandie. Or le réalisateur a regardé de nombreux films d’époque, etc. Finalement une partie de la population noire qui avait attaqué Spielberg a dû se rendre à l’évidence. Jusqu’en 1948, l’armée américaine était ségréguée. Les Noirs se sont sacrifiés mais pas dans les mêmes unités que les Blancs. Dans les films d’archives du Soldat Ryan des premières heures du Débarquement en Normandie, on ne voit pas de Noirs.

Une autre polémique cette année -et sans doute également injustifiée- a trait à un film très célèbre : La couleur des sentiments. Beaucoup on dit que le film présentait un "racisme light" dans les années 1960. Or, les deux racismes existaient à cette époque. D’un côté un racisme brutal que l’on voit par exemple dans Mississippi Burning. De l’autre, un racisme dans la quotidienneté de la relation. Le film montre qu’il existait des antiracistes en 1960. Dans ce film, une des héroïnes est obligée de courir en raison des affrontements. On voit aussi un racisme violent. Même si c’est de manière périphérique.

On peut aussi penser à la série Urgence dans laquelle un des héros, un médecin noir, le docteur Benton, interprété par Eriq La Salle, refuse le scénario selon lequel il devrait se marier avec une femme blanche, alors qu'auparavant, toutes ses histoires d’amour avec des femmes noires étaient des échecs. En effet, l’un des gros problèmes de la communauté noire américaine est la déstructuration familiale. Eriq La Salle a eu une démarche plutôt intelligente en n’encourageant pas une vision qui induit que les Noirs ensemble sont forcément en situation d’échec, et qu’il faut nécessairement se marier avec des Blancs…
Quid d’Intouchable ? Est-ce vraiment un film raciste comme le prétend le critique de Variety ?

Je préfère voir le verre à moitié plein, plutôt qu'à moitié vide. On peut déplorer les bons sentiments. Mais je me réjouis que les critiques proviennent des États-Unis et que ce film reçoive un bon accueil en France. C’est plutôt un encouragement à traiter ce genre de sujets.

J’espère que dans quelques années, des films iront au-delà de ces stéréotypes. Mais encore une fois, ce film relate une histoire vraie avec un handicapé blanc - même si l’accompagnateur était Arabe et non Noir dans la réalité. Parfois la réalité est plus caricaturale que la fiction. On ne peut tout de même pas faire comme si l’histoire avait été créée de toutes pièces.

Dire en France qu’Intouchables est un film raciste aura plus d’effets négatifs que positifs. En effet, les producteurs seront ensuite réticents à faire des films avec des personnages noirs ou arabes… On peut ensuite craindre que les réalisateurs ne voudront plus non plus traiter ce sujet par peur de se faire insulter par les associations… A terme, les acteurs noirs et arabes ne trouveraient plus de travail…

Un autre film Case départ a créé la polémique cet été en France. On lui reprochait de plaisanter sur l’esclavage. Je ne parle pas au nom du Comité de mémoire pour l’esclavage – même si j’en suis membre. Mais j’estime que beaucoup d’associations antiracistes, y compris nous, ont essayé de parler de ces sujets. Et qu’une comédie soit capable de montrer l’esclavage – même si c’était sur le mode de l’humour- est important. Même si le spectateur sait qu’il n’y a pas cinq conseillers scientifiques derrière et que c’est une comédie. Ni Intouchables ni Case départ ne méritent de polémique telle qu’on les voit aux États-Unis.

Dans les années 1980, Intouchables n’aurait suscité aucune polémique aux États-Unis. Eddy Murphy à l’époque ne représentait ni le Noir sérieux, ni le Noir sorti de Harvard ou de médecine. Il riait, chantait, etc. On pourrait dire que c’est un stéréotype. Seulement, à l’époque, les Noirs américains se disaient que mieux valait un Noir caricatural que rien du tout. Vingt ans plus tard, arrivés à cette phase, ils veulent aller au-delà. La France n’en est pas au même stade de cette reflexion…


François Durpaire

François Durpaire est un historien et écrivain, spécialisé dans les questions relatives à la diversité culturelle, aux Etats-Unis et en France.

Il est président du mouvement pluricitoyen : "Nous sommes la France" et s'occupe du blog Durpaire.com

Il est également l'auteur de Nous sommes tous la France : essai sur la nouvelle identité française (Editions Philippe Rey, 2012)

En savoir plus sur http://www.atlantico.fr/decryptage/intouchables-racisme-noirs-cinema-variety-francois-durpaire-242817.html#pCWFw83VhbvDVbfk.99
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The Intouchables: France’s Biggest Hit Dares You to Resist Its Charms

By Richard Corliss

May 24, 2012


Hollywood rules the movie world, dominating the box office in every country where American films are freely shown. So how to explain the startling success of the French dramatic comedy Intouchables? Since it opened last November, the film has earned $340 million, an all-time record for a foreign-language movie not made, nor yet released, in the U.S. About half of that revenue came from French-speaking countries, but the movie also made $77 million in Germany and nearly $20 million each in Italy and Spain. Even Greece has kicked in about $1 million. For comparison, consider that The Avengers, already No. 4 on the list of all-time worldwide moneymakers, has not earned nearly as much in any of those countries as Intouchables.

The film is not an action-adventure; it boasts no top-name actors. Unlike other recent Euro-hits, it is not based on a famous novel (the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy) or beloved comic book (the Asterix and Obelix series). It’s that rare commodity: a little movie that almost everyone sees and likes. Now The Weinstein Company, which did all right by the French-made, modestly budgeted, no-talkie, Oscar-winning comedy The Artist, is gambling that Intouchables will find a welcome home in the States. The Weinstein brothers certainly hope it does better than the 1993 French comedy smash Les visiteurs, whose dubbed American makeover they entrusted to Mel Brooks, at a reported outlay of more than $1 million, only to decide they’d release a simple subtitled version that took in less than a million dollars Stateside.

I have no investment in The Weinstein Company, but I predict that The Intouchables, as it’s now called, will do just fine. Some customers may be sold just from the plot pitch. The writer-directors Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, found their inspiration in the true story (told in the 2004 French documentary À la vie, à la mort) of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, a wealthy aristocrat whom a paragliding accident rendered a paraplegic, and his improbable caregiver, an African-immigrant ex-con named Abdel Sellou. In the movie Abdel becomes Driss (Omar Sy), a Senegalese who must apply for jobs he doesn’t want in order to stay on welfare. But Philippe (François Cluzet) finds the fellow’s bluster and bravado appealing and hires him as his live-in handler. It’s an opposites-attract, getting-to-know-you buddy comedy with a tender edge and a sweet center.

In his first days on the job, Driss is all attitude. Told he must help Philippe void his bowels, he explodes, “I’m not emptying the richard simmons of a guy I don’t know. Or even of a guy I do know. I don’t empty anyone’s richard simmons, on principle.” He fruitlessly flirts with the boss’s assistant Magalie (Audrey Fleurot) and antagonizes Philippe’s adopted teen daughter Eliza (Alba Gaïa Bellugi). No connoisseur of modern art, Driss is appalled at the asking price for a painting with a giant splotch of red: “The guy wants 30 grand for a nosebleed?” And to prove to himself that Philippe is physically insensitive below the neck, he pours scalding tea on the man’s legs.

So far The Intouchables sounds like The Miracle Worker for sadists, or possibly My Hot Foot. (Its plot is also quite similar to that of Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone, which played at Cannes this year.) There are no bonus points for guessing that the two men will grow to be friends and learn from each other — mostly Philippe from Driss. The Senegalese will lift the quadriplegic widower out of his doldrums, hiring women who can give Philippe a kind of sexual pleasure (“The ears are a highly sensitive erogenous zone”). He may even find a love partner for his generous employer.

Every American reviewer of The Intouchables is constitutionally required to note and comment on the racial stereotypes on display here. My comment: Eh. First of all, the history of French race relations is not equivalent to ours. Second, it’s incidentally interesting that the ethnicity of the caregiver has been changed from North African to sub-Saharan African; and there’s no question that the directors are less deft at sketching Driss’s fractious family life than the opulent vectors of Philippe’s mansion.

But, Special News Bulletin, comedy exaggerates characters and incidents; that’s how it makes humans funny and audiences laugh. At the start of The Intouchables, each man seems strange, alien, ludicrous to the other; the two must collide before they connect. Anyway, in this movie the jokes are made at the expense not of the leads but of the supporting figures — who in comedies from Aristophanes to Apatow, have always been given the custard pie of derision.

One might also argue that the scalding-tea scene makes fun of paraplegics — but the real Philippe Pozzo di Borgo must not have minded. He was an advisor to the directors, who are donating 5 percent of the film’s profits to the Simon de Cyrène Association, a charity that helps invalids and their families. (Those lucky folks at Simon de Cyrène: they wound up with a gift of Bill-and-Melinda-Gatesian proportions.)

Cluzet has been a modest luminary in French cinema for a quarter-century — since playing the music fan who, in a twist on the Intouchables plot, becomes jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon’s keeper in the 1987 Round Midnight. He makes Philippe a figure of dignity, grace and an almost lifesaving sense of humor about his plight.

Sy, like so many new French movie stars, came from cabaret and TV standup comedy, and can flip the switch from scowl to smile in a heartbeat. His and Cluzet’s screen rapport seems effortless — unless they didn’t like each other, in which case That’s Acting. Anyway, the folks who hand out the Césars (the French equivalent of the Academy Awards) must have thought Sy was acting: they gave him this year’s Best Male Performance prize over The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, who won the Oscar. I think Sy’s award was a merçi beaucoup to all those involved with Intouchables— not a great film but a warm one that pushes the viewer’s emotional buttons so deftly it feels like a massage. My guess is that you will laugh and cry at all appropriate moments. Resistance is futile.

Read more: http://entertainment.time.com/2012/05/24/the-intouchables-frances-biggest-hit-dares-you-to-resist-its-charms/

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Untouchables (Intouchables): Film Review
7:15 PM PDT 9/26/2011 by Neil Young

The Bottom Line
Two strong central performances elevate a shamelessly manipulative French crowd pleaser.


François Cluzet and Omar Sy star in a French comedy-drama about a quadriplegic white millionaire and his outspoken caretaker from the Paris ghetto.

SAN SEBASTIAN -- The King's Speech meets Driving Miss Daisy in Untouchables (Intouchables), a loosely based-on-fact French tale of a quadriplegic white millionaire given a new lease of life by his uncouth black caretaker. Corny, calculating and commercial, this genial buddy movie had its international and remake rights snapped up the Weinstein Company two months before it world premiered out of competition as the closing film of the San Sebastian Film Fesetival.

While by no means the most distinguished or subtle French production of the year, this fourth feature by writer-directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano will almost certainly provide the duo with their first taste of international recognition. Built firmly around the appeal of its two charismatic leads, Untouchables could live up to its title at the French box offices when it opens November 2.

The most obvious draw here is François Cluzet, best known for his highly energetic turn as a harassed pediatrician plunged into Hitchcockian mystery in Guillame Canet's smash Tell No One. (He received a Best Actor César for that movie, having racked up no less than nine nominations for France's Oscar equivalent.) His performance here is physically demanding for very different reasons: His character Philippe is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a paragliding accident.

An extremely wealthy widower, fiftyish Philippe lives with his teenage daughter Elisa (Alba Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi) in an opulently luxurious Paris apartment. Hiring a new caretaker to assist him with his daily physical needs, he rejects various highly qualified candidates in favor of Driss (Omar Sy), who has only applied for the job to ensure he keeps getting welfare payments.

A recently released ex-con, the thirtyish Driss's brash confidence and sometimes brutal straightforwardness impress the jaded Philippe, who has become tired of the "pitying" attentions of his previous helpers. Driss faces a steep learning curve in his transition from the projects to Philippe's palatial pad, but this new arrangement quickly starts paying some unexpected dividends for both parties.

Borrowing liberally from the likes of The Scent of a Woman, My Fair Lady, Trading Places, The Prince and the Pauper, The Sea Inside and even TV's Diff'rent Strokes — to name but a few — Nakache and Toledo don't exactly seek to reinvent the wheel here. Their slickly executed culture-clash character piece is stuffed chock full of hard-knock life lessons that owe much more to the conventions of the screen than the tough realities of social deprivation and of the severely handicapped.

Script-wise they could easily have taken the material down much more sentimental or melodramatic avenues. So while the lack of third-act fireworks may leave some viewers feeling short-changed, a little restraint goes a long way. Indeed, even the hardest-hearted may be moved by the finale, which includes brief footage of Philippe and Driss's real-life counterparts. Ludovico Einaudi's score adds to the poignancy without becoming intrusively hectoring.

Driss's characterization veers perilously close to caricature at certain junctures, most notably when he displays his energetic dance-moves to liven up Philippe's stuffy birthday party. (The real Driss, we eventually discover, is Arab rather than black.) The racial angle is often clumsily dramatized, as when Elisa makes an implausibly stupid remark about how things are done "in your country." The chap may have been born in Senegal, but is unmistakeably a home-grown son of the banlieues.

The casting of Sy -- a livewire presence who previously appeared in two previously Nakache/Toledano productions, Those Happy Days (2006) and Tellement proches (2009) -- helps to alleviate much concerns as he strikes the right notes of menace, charm and chutzpah in a breakout performance.

Venue: San Sebastian Film Festival
Production companies: Quad, Gaumont, TFI Films, Ten Films, Chadcorp
Cast: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet
Directors/screenwriters: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Producers: Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou, Laurent Zeitoun
Director of photography: Mathieu Vaudepied
Production designer: François Emmanuelli
Music: Ludovico Einaudi
Costume designer: Isabelle Pannetier
Editors: Dorian Rigal Ansous
Sales: Gaumont
No rating, 92 minutes

source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movie/intouchables-france/review/240178

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Latest update: 18/02/2013

France's 'Intouchables' takes Spanish film award


French film "Les Intouchables" won the prize for best European film at Spain's Goya awards on Sunday. Directed by Olivier Nakache (left) and Eric Toledano (right), the film is the best-selling French film ever in overseas markets.

By News Wires (text)

Spanish stars lashed out at government austerity measures at the prestigious Spanish film awards, the Goyas, on Sunday which saw Pablo Berger's "Blancanieves" take the top film award.

The critical tone of the ceremony was set by presenter Eva Hache's opening monologue which touched on spending cuts to health and eduction and allegations of slush fund financing at the ruling Popular Party and corruption by the Spanish king's son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin.

Celebrities then repeatedly used their moment in the spotlight when collecting awards during the ceremony broadcast live on public television TVE to strike out at the government's handling of Spain's economic crisis.

Maribel Verdu dedicated her Goya win for best actress to "all those who have lost their home, their future, even their lives due to an unfair system."

Campaigners say hundreds of thousands of people have been evicted from their homes in the crisis brought on by the collapse of Spain's housing market in 2008 which has caused the jobless rate to soar to a record 26 percent.

Outrage has been fanned by a string of suicides of people reportedly driven to despair by the prospect of eviction, including a retired couple in Mallorca last week.

Verdu received her Goya for her role as the evil stepmother in "Blancanieves", a silent, black-and-white Spanish retelling of the Snow White story. She beat out Naomi Watts, Penelope Cruz and Aida Folch.

Candela Pena, who won the best supporting actress for "Una Pistola en Cada Mano", railed against steep cuts to health care.

"I saw my father die at a public hospital where there were no blankets to cover him, no water. I have a child and I don't know what kind of public education he will receive," she said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government has slashed health spending by seven billion euros ($9.1 billion) a year as part of a campaign to squeeze 150 billion euros out of the crisis-racked country's budget by 2014.

Many actors wore stickers with a drawing of a pair of scissors and the word "NO" in a sign of protest against the spending cuts.

The president of the Spanish film academy, Enrique Gonzalez Macho, lashed out against the "brutal" rise in the sales tax which saw the cinema admission tax jump from 8.0 percent to 21 percent.

"Consumption of culture has suffered a very strong drop and therefore lower revenues, which has been accompanied by the strong social costs, the closure of companies and a significant rise in unemployment which has reached alarming figures," he said.

"Blancanieves" picked up 10 Goyas in all, including for best original screenplay and best original score.

The French blockbuster "Les Intouchables" won the best European film prize.

The film, directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, has become the second biggest box office hit in France and the biggest selling French film overseas of all time.

It is a story about the relationship between a quadriplegic millionaire and a caretaker he hires from a poor Parisian suburb.

Unlike last year's European prize winner at the Goyas "The Artist", the film cannot secure further glory at the US Oscars where it has not even been nominated in the foreign language category.

Juan Antonio Bayona won best director for "The Impossible" which has already earned Naomi Watts a best actress nomination at the upcoming US Oscars.


source: http://www.france24.com/en/20130218-france-intouchables-spanish-film-award-goyas-nakache-toledano

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