french films > Aaltra



cast: Benoit Delepine, Gustave de Kervern

year: 2004

colour: no


director: Benoit Delepine

runtime: 92

Shot in beautiful black and white CinemaScope, Aaltra is deliciously mordant black comedy and the ultimate wheelchair road movie. Ben and Gus are neighbours in a small Belgian village, one an uptight commuter, the other a slovenly small farmer. They loathe each other, and their antagonism leads to a fight, culminating in an accident with a tractor which leaves them both paralysed from the waist down. Rejecting the possibility of suicide or self pity, they take a more vengeful route, heading off across Belgium in their wheelchairs with the intention of claiming compensation from the Finnish manufacturer of the tractor which injured them. Their changing relationship during the journey may be standard road movie stuff, but the pair's willingness to exploit and impose upon everyone they meet is bracingly refreshing and wickedly funny. Doubling up in front and behind the camera, Delepine and Kervern are masters of comic underplaying, and their supporting cast features cameos from some well known Belgians and a particularly famous Finn.


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