Director: Benoît Delepine and Gustave Kervern

Belgium| 2004. English subtitles. Black and white. dts stereo. 92 min.

Positively, absolutely, one hundred percent guaranteed the funniest black-and-white wide-screen Belgian wheelchair road-movie you’ll see this year, Benoît Delepine and Gustave Kervern’s irreverent odyssey simultaneously raises the spirits as it dishes out darkly deadpan wit. The co-directors also star as two feuding country neighbours—Kervern’s the gruff, beardy farmer with a very short fuse, Delepine the neurotic businessman obsessed by (of all things) motocross—whose ongoing antipathy boils over in a fist-fight brought to an abrupt end by a malfunctioning hunk of farm machinery which leaves them both paralysed. Mutual loathing undisguised, they remain unbowed by their misfortune, and resolve to travel together to Finland to seek compensation directly from Aaltra, the tractor manufacturer.
This is the cue for a series of brilliantly timed and executed sight-gags (if the scene in the bar with the two ambulance drivers has you chuckling, you’re definitely on the movie’s wavelength), which may not be the last word in political correctness, but whose humour is built on the unflappable deviousness with which these unlikely heroes surmount the difficulties of a world often oblivious to the needs of wheelchair-users. The slow-burning stoicism, touching and amusing at the same time, is definitely reminiscent of Aki Kaurismaki’s particular celluloid universe, so it’s entirely appropriate that the phlegmatic Finn pops up for a telling cameo almost as uproarious as the film’s hilariously bizarre karaoke number (we’ll say no more), which you’ll be giggling over for years to come. Honestly, you couldn’t make it up, but thankfully these guys did. Tremendous fun.

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