Argentinian film about one of the most beautiful friendship stories in cinema is on Netflix and you haven’t seen it
The true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou has been depicted in many films, the most famous of which is “The Intouchables”, from 2011. From this production onwards, several directors of many nationalities thought of telling their own version. One of them is the Argentinian filmmaker Marcos Carnevale, “Inseparáveis”, from 2016. But this reading is very different from the French one, which has the charming and charismatic performance of Omar Sy.
In the French version, by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, Abdel Driss, played by Omar Sy, is the reverent and charismatic employee of Philippe (François Cluzet), a tycoon whose whole body is paralyzed by an accident with a horse. Driss has to help him with the most basic everyday tasks, such as bathing and eating, but as they live together, they develop strong bonds of loyalty and friendship.
Carnevale doesn’t seem to have fully grasped Abdel’s personality, the real guy, but he got the message, which is the most important thing. Instead, he brings a Tito (Rodrigo de la Serna), who would be a cinematic representation of Abdel, unpleasant, ill-mannered and harassing women. He works for the millionaire Felipe (Oscar Martínez), a cultured, intelligent man who, like the Philippe of the real story, became a quadriplegic after an accident.
It must have seemed funny to Carnevale to use some irreverent jokes to represent Abdel’s rebellious and funny personality. This is the biggest flaw in this film, which could have followed the same almost impeccable course of “Untouchables”. The director and screenwriter tries to justify his character’s character flaw with his traumatic and troubled past.
But all is not so bad. The essence is the same as in all the other films, showing how their friendship positively affected their lives. Felipe lives inside a bubble. He was always alive, even before his accident. In a world where social status is everything, belonging requires the right manners, sophistication and finesse. Tito’s arrival is like defying gravity. He makes Felipe break all the original rules of his universe.
With Tito there are no manners, refinement or finesse. He constantly mocks works of art, puts his feet up on the theater’s mezzanine balcony during the opera, swears at people and fights. For Felipe, Tito’s presence is like escaping from reality. It is his way of escaping into a world where anything is possible. Breaking the rules makes him feel alive again.
Carnivale’s film is problematic, but it does not lose its main message about the importance of friendship and how it changes people’s lives. Having a friend is like having a bridge that connects us to the outside of our island. It is a connection with the world. It is important not to lose this bridge to the world, because isolated on our own island, life is somewhat lonely and desperate. When Felipe loses his mobility, he thinks he has lost everything, but his friendship with Tito reminds him that he is still alive.
Direction: Marcos Carnevale