Giants of French filmmaking Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (The Intouchables) return with this unforgettable powerhouse film which was honoured as the Closing Night feature at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
Based on a true story – this is life-affirming, tear and rage-inducing viewing. The result of two years’ immersion in the lives of the two associations, Hors Normes does the remarkable job of delivering both heart and a very vivid depiction of life on the frontlines of mental health care.
Inspired by the real-life work of Stephane Benhamou and Daoud Tatou, the film focuses on two interlinked Paris organisations dedicated to helping young autistic people abandoned by the state system. Run by Bruno Haroche, it offers round-the-clock care and a chance for interaction for those who might otherwise be isolated or locked away. Struggling for both staff and money, Bruno is the heart and soul of his uncertified shelter, which comes under threat when authorities start investigating it. He and copain Malik train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for extreme cases that have been refused by all other institutions. It’s an exceptional partnership, outside of traditional settings, for some quite extraordinary characters.
Despite the hard-hitting subject matter, this film gains levity through many moments of grace and humour. Profound and uplifting, The Extraordinary and its lessons about connection, dignity and equality will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.
France 2019, 114 min, rated M (offensive language)
Directed by Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano
Starring Vincent Cassel, Reda Kateb, Hélène Vincent, Bryan Mialoundama & Alban Ivanov