Monday, April 5, 2010

Nationale 7

Nationale 7; Tragicomedy, France, 2000; D: Jean-Pierre Sinapi, S: Olivier Gourmet, Nadia Kaci, Lional Abelanski

In an institution for disabled people, near route Nationale 7, lives the grouchy Rene. Due to a degenerative sickness of his muscles, he is bound to a wheelchair and is thus mean spirited towards everyone around him. His new nurse is the young and attractive Julie who seems to be immune to his insults. When Rene admits to her that he is depressive because he hasn't experienced intercourse for a long time and wants a prostitute, Julie starts a search for a permit but no doctor wants to give his guarantee. Finally, Julie illegally brings Rene to the prostitute Florele. Soon afterwards, the other patients follow. It all ends when a Muslim gets baptized with Florele as the witness while Rene finds his gentler side again.

"Nationale 7" is a truly surprisingly fun and original little film that breaks a taboo subject: a paraplegic who wants to rent a prostitute to sleep with someone. Namely, the main protagonist Rene is bound to a wheelchair. He is really misanthropic and doesn't hesitate to sarcastically ask his new nurse Julie, a replacement for his older one, this: "Does that mean that I won't have to see that fat cow anymore?" When they go shopping, he asks her to reach for the highest shelf and get him some VHS porn, the 'hard core' kind. Rene is aware that he is disabled but doesn't want to be handicapped, whereas he even admits, it an emotional moment, that he is depressive because he hasn't experienced intercourse for a long time, through which the film skilfully broadens the motive of loneliness to an universal appeal. Director Jean-Pierre Sinapi shot the film with hand-held digital camera, 'Dogma 95' style, and with a shrill and humane mood, whereas in the final scene he even showed the photos of real (deceased) Rene and his nurse Julie.


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