|Uneasy Riders Nationale 7||
Born to be wild. Led by Jean-Louis and Rene (Thomassin and Gourmet), the patients fight for their right to party.
dir-scr Jean-Pierre Sinapi|
with Nadia Kaci, Olivier Gourmet, Chantal Neuwirth, Lionel Abelanski, Julien Boisselier, Nadine Marcovici, Said Taghmaoui, Gerald Thomassin, Nicolas Lecuyot, Karine Leparquier, Jean-Claude Frissung, Isabelle Mazin
awards International Critics Prize (London 00), Audience Awards (Berlin 00, San Sebastien 00)
release UK 30.Mar.01
Like a Dogme film, Sinapi's compelling feature is so natural and authentic that we almost feel like voyeurs watching it. But a generous stream of humour--both viciously dark and warmly touching--keeps us fully engaged. We're in a home for the seriously disabled, where the patients are all more than a little bored as they watch life pass by along National Route 7 just outside the doors. Then the most abrasive patient (Gourmet) starts a chain of events that will change everyone forever--he asks the staff to get him a prostitute. The workers (Kaci, Neuwirth, Abelanski, Boisselier, et al) are caught off guard by this genuine request. And soon the other patients take up the cause, seeking dignity, quality of life and most of all a connection with the world.|
The characters are so well written and played that each comes to life in a profoundly touching way. The cast is anchored by two fine central performances: Gourmet as the bitter yet ultimately sympathetic Rene, and Kaci as the nurse struggling to do the right thing for him, while her own personal life is more than a little confusing. Taghmaoui shines as a confused young man struggling not only with disability, but also his religious and sexual identity; and Thomassin steals the show as a red-mohawked biker who prowls the highway in his souped-up wheelchair. There are so many sharp, witty details in each situation and character that the ensemble cast works wonders, bringing out the serious themes in a natural, gentle way that is thoroughly effective--and increasingly funny. At times the story takes rather cliched twists, but mostly the film feels just a bit too real, like we're watching a particularly intimate documentary. This is due to a fearless honesty in both performances and casting, as well as Sinapi's remarkable use of digital video and natural lighting. A small gem well worth seeking out on the festival/art house circuit.