found escape from grim economic reality in Intouchables, a feelgood buddy movie about a quadriplegic aristocrat and his black home-help that stormed the French box office. Based on a true story, it stars Francois C luzet as a wealthy quadriplegic whose life is turned upside down when he hires a wisecracking young black man (Omar Sy) just out of prison, to take care of him. Billed as a feelgood buddy film that illustrates the virtue of tolerance and the power of friendship, the surprise hit also tackles issues such as disability, prejudice and the yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots of French society. Directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, Intouchables was inspired by Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, who was the boss of champagne makers Pommery when a paragliding accident left him paralysed. He recruited a man of North African origin, Abdel Sellou, to help look after him and, against all the odds, an unshakeable friendship was formed. Pozzo di Borgo, delighted at the fictional adaptation of his life, says Intouchables’ directors have ‘‘achieved a state of grace’’. The film has made a star of Sy, now the most prominent black actor in a country where most leading film stars are white.
Omar Sy stars in