Aaltra

Ben is an uptight office worker who hates his neighbour Gus, a huge, hairy, insecticide-spraying farmer in a dirty vest. When Ben gets sacked, he flips and attacks Gus. Trapped under Gus’s new tipper-truck, both are crushed and paralyzed from the waist down.

Ben takes off for Finland to see the one thing that still means anything to him – motocross. Gus is going that way too – to claim compensation from Aaltra, the makers of the tipper-truck.

Writer-directors Kervern and Delepine – who write and act in the French Spitting Image series – play Ben and Gus. They’re good at physical comedy – there’s little dialogue – and showing how difficult it is to get around by wheelchair. But of course, Ben and Gus aren’t just wheelchair users. They are first of all people – and often horrible. Ben steals someone’s electric wheelchair. Gus mugs passers-by.

Don’t see Aaltra because it’s the first wheelchair road-movie. See it because it’s a funny, original and irreverent movie about an odd couple who happen to be disabled.

Malcolm Lewis

mag cover This article is from the January 2005 issue of New Internationalist.
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