The Stars Of "The Intouchables"
François Cluzet who plays Philippe, is a ten-time César Award nominee and one of France’s most renowned and respected actors. Since making his feature debut in Diane Kurys’ 1980 "Cocktail Molotov", he has worked with many of Europe’s most distinguished filmmakers. In the U.S., he is best known as the star of the hit mystery Guillaume Canet’s "Tell No One" (Ne Le Dis A Personne), which garnered him a 2007 César Award for Best Actor. His recent films include Canet’s "Little White Lies" (Les Petits Mouchoirs), Emmanuel Mouret’s "The Art Of Love" (L' Art D'Aimer), Saphia Azzeddine’s "My Father Is A Housewife" (Mon Pere Est Femme De Menage), Christophe Blanc’s "White Snow" (Blanc Comme Neige), Philippe Godeau’s "Onr For The Road" (Le Dernier Pour La Route) and Xavier Giannoli’s "In The Beginning" (A L'Origine). Other noteworthy credits include Raul Ruiz’s "The Lost Domain"; Samuel Benchetrit’s "Janis and John"; Olivier Assayas’s "Late August", "Early September"; Nicole Garcia’s "The Adversary"; Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s "The Horseman On The Roof"; Robert Altman's "Pret A Porter"; Agnieszka Holland’s "Olivier, Olivier"; Bertrand Blier’s "Too Beautiful For You"; Claire Denis’s "Chocolat"; Bertrand Tavernier’s "Round Midnight"; Jean Becker’s "One Deadly Summer"; and Diane Kurys’s "Entre Nous. Cluzet worked several times with lauded filmmaker Claude Chabrol, starring in "The Swindle", "Hell", "Story Of Women", "The Hatter's Ghost" and, "The Horse Of Pride". At the 2011 Tokyo International Film Festival, Cluzet and Omar Sy shared the Best Actor Award for their remarkable performances in "The Intouchables" (Ecrit Et Realise Par). On television, Cluzet starred in the 2002 series “La famille Guérin" and appeared in the series "Venus and Apollo". He starred in several telefilms, including: "Un Mois A Nous" and "Les Enfants Du Printemps". Born in Paris, Cluzet began his career in theatre, making his stage debut in 1976. Cluzet has a son, Paul (son of the late actress Marie Trintignant) as well as three other children: Blanche, Joseph and Marguerite. Omar Sy (Driss) is an award-winning French actor, comedian, comic writer and television personality. "The Intouchables" marks his third feature film collaboration with writer, directors,Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. His previous collaborations were: "So Close" (Tellement Proches) in 2008 and "Those Happy Days (Ces Jours Hereux") in 2006. Sy’s other feature film credits include Christophe Campos’s "La Loi De Murphy", Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s "Micmacs" and Pierre-François Martin Laval’s "King Guillaume". He has voiced characters in the animated films "Bolt", "Papa Raconte", "Les Lascars", "Marmaduke" and "Fish And Chips". For his performance in "Those Happy Days", Driss was honored with the 2007 NRJ Cine Award for Best Young Talent in a Debut Film. At the 2011 Tokyo International Film Festival, Sy shared the Best Actor Award with François Cluzet. In February 2012, Driss received the César Award for Best Actor for his performance in "The Intouchables". Driss has been writing and performing comedic sketches with Fred Testot ("Don't Die Too Hard!" & "Sea, No Sex and Sun") for over ten years years. They are among France's biggest comedy stars. Their long-running television hit sketch series "SAV des emissions" debuted in 2006. Their first television series, "LE VISIOPHONE d'Omar et Fred" aired from 1999-2003 on Canal+, and the duo have also made several successful stage tours. Sy’s other television credits include “Le Grand Journal,” “Le Vrai Vie d’ Omar & Fred” and the Philippe Triboit'S 2002 COMEDY telefilm, "Si J'Etais Lui".
The Real Life 'Intouchables'
The Telegraph (U.K.) journalist Nigel Farndale recently had the opportunity to shed light on the real Philippe. The second thing you notice about Philippe Pozzo di Borgo is his smile: it is engaging and generous. The first is his wheelchair. The sixty one year old French aristocrat and former director of the Pommery champagne house, has been in one since a paragliding accident left him a quadriplegic in 1993. His has a wing mirror, a computer control panel that can do everything from open windows to operate his phone, and it is, he says, the fastest in the world, capable of nine mph. Abdel Sellou, his "guardian devil" of ten years, arranged for it to be souped up so that they could race in it, with Sellou on the back. This is one of many amusing episodes that feature in "Untouchable", a film about their unlikely friendship. Another concerns a favourite game of theirs: Abdel would speed through Paris in Philippe’s Rolls-Royce, until the police caught them. Abdel would convince the police that the reason they were speeding was that Philippe was having a seizure. Philippe would play along. The police would then escort them to the nearest hospital. Their friendship was unlikely because Philippe, who is the second son of a French duke, was born into a life of great wealth and privilege. Abdel was a career criminal from Algeria who had immigrated to France and had only applied for the job of Philippe’s carer so that he could keep claiming his income support. He was, according to Philippe, a short man with a square face who was "intolerable, vain and arrogant". But, as Philippe explains to me as we sit in his beautiful modernist villa in Essaouira, Morocco: "at the end of the world”; he spotted something in Abdel that others could not see. His sweet craziness. "He didn’t feel sorry for me, he was irreverent, cheeky and had an outrageous sense of humour. I suddenly found I was enjoying life again, feeling like I didn’t know what was coming next. Nothing stopped this guy. I knew he wouldn’t flinch and could take the initiative." He had interviewed about ninety people and knew as soon as he met Abdel that: "This is the guy I need. I don’t give a damn that he is out of jail. I needed him. And he became a friend afterwards." As well as sharing a sense of humour, they were both on the margins of society: a disabled man and a criminal. That, he thinks, explains why they came to depend on each other, enrich each other’s lives and bridge the race and class divide. The films directors, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakacheo, stumbled upon the story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his carer, Abdel Sellou, via a documentary on the pair, made in 2004. Over time, as the unlikely carer brought the widower out of his shell, he evidently began to enjoy life again, eventually facing his worst fear: dating another woman, one whom he'd been writing to for some time without declaring his disability (caused by a paragliding accident). Their film would spend ten consecutive weeks as the number one film at the French box-office following its release in November 2011. It is already an international smash, having taken an incredible $340 million. Abdel Sellou author of the remarkable and entertaining memoir, "You Changed My Life", recounts the story of his unlikely friendship with Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, a wealthy man devastated by the loss of all four of his limbs in a hang-gliding accident and by the loss of his wife to cancer. Sellou, an experienced pickpocket, a talented con man, and a charismatic gang leader, never would have expected that he'd grow up to be an excellent caretaker for a disabled man and the inspiration for a movie character, as well as a gifted storyteller and author. Sellou now lives in Algeria with his wife and three children, where he runs a chicken farm. He remains close to Philippe, who lives in Morocco with his second wife and two children.
What Do The Critics Say?
"No two men could be more different, never mind Driss being a poor black guy from Africa and Philippe a rich white man in Paris. The essence of what Driss brings to Philippe is what makes the film so special: because we enjoy it too; his lack of pity for Philippe is a plus, as is his sense of humour, his wicked, flirting ways and his instinctive response to the circumstances. A powerful story and explosively funny."
"It's rare for a film of this ilk to strike such a perfect blend of tone, style and grace. Oscar-nominated, lauded at festivals overseas and now, one of the most successful French pictures of all time, The Intouchables is simply irresistible. Glorious buddy ride that's so unlikely it could only happen on screen."
"Culture-clash comedy blends with heart-tugging true life drama in this French box-office hit. It’s an enjoyable, if familiar, set-up. This is not a romance, but a bromance: it’s these two against a world. Both characters are enormously sympathetic and you can’t deny the film’s heart is in the right place. It delivers broad laughs and tugs at the heartstrings without delving too deep: the very definition of a crowd-pleaser."
Anna Smith TIME OUT
"It’s taken almost a year but finally, The Intouchables has found its way into Australian cinemas. It’s getting a bigger release than you might expect. Most of the major cinema chains normally wouldn’t go near a foreign language film with a bargepole. That’s not case this time around. They’re trying to cash in on the film’s wide appeal and believe that many Australians are going to want to see it, particularly once the word-of-mouth starts to spread. Performances from François Cluzet and Omar Sy will inject you with happiness."
Matthew Toomey THE FILM PIE
"Set in present day France and based on a true story. A rich, buoyant tale about the simple act of human connection and how it makes the heart sing. A witty and unabashedly crowd-pleasing dramedy that spans languages and cultures. Cluzet and Sy are such a fine engaging pair. Laced with an electric authenticity."
"The unlikely combination of a wealthy paraplegic and an ex-crim with a zest for life is the premise of this surprisingly uplifting film that made my heart laugh, cry and sing. Based on a true story, Nakache and Toledano's wonderful screenplay takes the odd-couple concept and stretches its limbs to the extreme, as serious drama collides with comedy that is always carefully contained within its credible reality."
What's It All About?
Philippe is a wealthy Parisian tetraplegic who's interviewing for a live-in carer. One of those in the waiting room is street smart Driss. Tired of waiting he barges into the interview room demanding a signature to show he has been looking for work so he can qualify for benefits. Philippe offers him a challenge: come and work for me on a one month trial basis. A reluctant Driss accepts the offer, which solves one problem. His Aunty, has kicked him out of her appartment and with no-where to go his prospects looked bleak. When he sees his accommodation, Driss thinks he's in seventh heaven. Impressed with the young man, Pilippe keeps him on even after learning of his conviction for robbery. Philippe, disabled after a paragliding accident, is a widow. While their marriage produced no children, he has had adopted a daughter Elisa, who is now a spoilt teenager. Driss too has problems. He's dealing with his younger brother Adam who is mixing with the wrong crowd. Driss and Philippe quickly develope a relationship that will change both their lives forever.
The Verdict?
"I remember banner advertising "The Intouchables" earlier in the year and thinking, 'even if it's only half as good as the trailer, I can't wait to see it!' Finally it has arrived in Australian cinemas and I can reveal, "The Intouchables" far exceeded my expectations. Besides being very funny, despite the subtitles, it steps way outside the realms of being a film only for francophiles. Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano have, with the help of a superb cast, put together a film, which is definitely 'feel-good', yet never feels pretentious. A film that is neither insensitive or disrespectful. A remarkable, uplifting and joyous experience that should not be missed." Highly Recommended. 5 STARS
The Main Players
François Cluzet
Omar Sy
Anne Le Ny
Audrey Fleurot
Clotilde Mollet
Alba Gaïa Bellugi
Cyril Mendy
Christian Ameri
Gregoire Oestermann
Dominique Daguier
François Caron
Thomas Soliveres
Dorothee Briere
Marie-Laure Descoureaux
Amie de Philippe
Ami de Philippe
The Production Team
Directed by Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano
Written by Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano
Produced by Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky/Laurent Zeitoun/Yann Zenou
Original Music by Ludovico Einaudi
Cinematography by Mathieu Vadepied
Film Editing by Dorian Rigal-Ansous
Casting by Gigi Akoka
Set Decoration by Olivia Bloch-Lainé
Costume Design by Isabelle Pannetier
Run Time 112 minutes
Rated M [AUST]
Copyright 2012 - Weinstein Company - All Rights Reserved
Enduring COPYRIGHT - The Movie Pages & Impact Internet Services - All Rights Reserved. Protected by Australian & International Copyright, Trademark Laws & Intellectual Property Rights.