Director: Attila Till
Writer: Attila Till
Cast: Szabolcs Thuróczy, Zoltán Fenyvesi, Ádám Fekete, Mónika Balsai, Lídia Danis, Dusán Vitanovics
Part of: Let’s CEE Film Festival
Seen on: 25.3.2017
Zolika (Zoltán Fenyvesi) and Barba Papa (Ádám Fekete) are best friends who dream of action. When they meet Rupaszov (Szabolcs Thuróczy), a former firefighter who has to use a wheelchair since an accident, they find the perfect place for their fantasies in his bitter and rough personality and the fact that he works for the mafia as a hitman. Zoli and Barba are looking for adventure and money – Zoli needs a life-saving surgery he can’t afford – and so they become Rupaszov’s assistants.
Tiszta szívvel is not only a very entertaining and well-made film, it’s also excellent disability representation (at least for disabled men). I wish there were more films like it.
The film manages on the one hand to show how often disabilities shape what can and can’t be done in the guys’ lives, but also on the other hand that the disability of the protagonists is only part of what makes them who they are. Thus we get fully rounded characters who happen to be disabled instead of disability stereotypes given life. And it’s awesome. It also helps that two of the three protagonists are actually disabled (Thuróczy isn’t), plus there are many disabled people in supporting roles. This is not only great in and of itself, but it also saved the film from having one of the worst ending: Fenyvesi was at the screening I attended and answered some questions about the film. He said that Till had originally planned to end with Zoli being un-disabled by the operation which wouldn’t have sit well at all. But Fenyvesi was able to dissuade Till, pointing out how it would make him as a disabled person react. Had an able-bodied person been cast, I’m pretty sure that this correction wouldn’t have happened.
So instead of a more than problematic trope for an ending, we get a film that relishes having disabled men kick ass in a sometimes rather bloody way.
Even if you didn’t care at all about disability representation, you’d probably have fun with the film (at least if you like action movies): it’s well-paced, has charming characters, nice comic art and a great soundtrack that makes for good listening outside of the film as well. The film is funny and a little weird but there is a serious, emotional core there that works perfectly to ground the film. My personal favorite thing about it, though, was Barba (not only because of the name Barba Papa) or rather Fekete’s impeccable comedic timing that had me in stitches more than once.
I just wish that they’d have had a little more space for (disabled) women. Women are barely present at all in the film, and when they are it’s almost exclusively as potential sex partners for the guys. But other than that, I really have no complaints.
Summarizing: That’s what films should be like, especially films with disabled people.