Hors normes [The Specials] (2019)

Hors normes
Director: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
Writer: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Reda Kateb, Hélène Vincent, Bryan Mialoundama, Alban Ivanov, Benjamin Lesieur, Marco Locatelli, Catherine Mouchet, Frédéric Pierrot, Suliane Brahim, Lyna Khoudri, Aloïse Sauvage, Djibril Yoni
Seen on: 10.1.2020

Content Note: ableism

Plot:
Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Malik (Reda Kateb) are best friends and also do the same job: they each run organizations that work with disabled and/or neuroatypical people, mostly autistic teens and young adults that everybody else seems to have given up on. When Bruno’s organization is being inspected again, it just adds to his overall workload and frustration. As if he hadn’t enough on his plate already, trying to do right by all of the children in his care.

I was hesitant about seeing the film, given that Intouchables has a less than great record when it comes to handling disability (I didn’t see it at the time, so my review linked above is very hype-y, but I have learned in the last decade). But since I worked with autistic children myself and since I like Cassel and Kateb, I figured I’d give it a go. I really, really, shouldn’t have. Hors normes is a sanctification of social workers that fails to take into account the perspective of the people they work with for even a second. That’s not how you make a film about such a sensitive topic. Or about any topic.

The film poster showing Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Mailk (Reda Kateb).
Continue reading

Lost River (2014)

Lost River
Director: Ryan Gosling
Writer: Ryan Gosling
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Reda Kateb, Barbara Steele
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.4.2015
[Reviews by Maynard and cornholio.]

Plot:
Billy (Christina Hendricks) lives alone with her two kids in a mostly abandoned neighborhood. When he’s not busy dreaming about his neighbor Rat (Saoirse Ronan), Billy’s older son Bones (Iain De Caestecker) tries to support them by stealing copper from the empty houses around them, which draws the ire of local thug (Matt Smith) who claims all the copper for himself. Threatened by foreclosure, Billy accepts a job offer from Dave (Ben Mendelsohn), her bank manager who has a little business at the side at a strange night club.

Lost River is not a perfect film. But it is an enchanting, strong debut that I won’t mind watching again.

Lost_River Continue reading

Hippocrate [Hippocrates] (2014)

Hippocrate
Director: Thomas Lilti
Writer: Pierre Chosson, Baya Kasmi, Julien Lilti, Thomas Lilti
Cast: Vincent LacosteReda Kateb, Jacques Gamblin, Marianne Denicourt, Félix Moati, Carole Franck
Part of: Scope 50
Seen on: 20.02.2015

Plot:
Benjamin (Vincent Lacoste) just started his doctor’s training at the hospital where his father (Jacques Gamblin) is a renowned surgeon. Benjamin goes in full of confidence and immediately butts heads with Abdel (Reda Kateb) who already has substantial experience as a doctor in Algeria, but for nostrification purposes has to go through training again and who doesn’t think much of Benjamin’s view of himself. And when a patient dies on Benjamin’s watch and due to Benjamin’s error, Benjamin starts to question himself as well.

Hippocrate has a pretty realistic view on the everyday experiences of doctors (as far as I can tell – I’m no doctor myself, but my sister and a close friend are), probably due to the fact that Lilti himself trained as doctor. But unfortunately he chose the wrong character as the protagonist. Generally more could have been made of the film, but what we got was also nice.

hippocrate Continue reading