New Internationalist

Aaltra

January 2005

directed by Gustave Kervern and Benoit Delepine

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

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 375 This column was published in the January 2005 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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