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Nationale 7 (Uneasy Riders) Review

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Rene, a disabled man with a bad attitude, asserts his right to sex and persuades a nurse to take him to visit a prostitute. When he suddenly becomes sweet and charming, his change of attitude is noticed…

★★★★

A multiple award-winner, Jean-Pierre Sinapi's second feature is a tribute to both his sister and a handicapped friend whose desire for love was undimmed at his death. It's a resolutely unpatronising portrayal of disabled people, with their appetites and prejudices as prominent as their limitations and courage.

The opening segment, depicting the traumatic realities of disability, stands in contrast to the jocular tone of the rest, as a hospital's residents cotton on to the fact that nurse Julie (Kaci) has grown so weary of the disruptive antics of RenÚ (Gourmet) that she weekly shuttles him off to assignations with a hooker in a lay-by on the Nationale 7. But, though sex plays a major part, this is primarily a film about acceptance (physical, racial, sexual, religious), and Sinapi makes his points without soap-boxing.

It manages to make interesting points about equality and difference without being preachy, and still bring humour to the situation.

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