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Co-Directors Of French Blockbuster "Intouchables" Talk "Magical Negro" Comparisons

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 23, 2012 11:52 AM
5 Comments
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It opens this Friday, May 25, in the USA, after a year of coverage of the French film here on S&A. So those of you Stateside will finally get to experience The Intouchables for yourselves... assuming you're interested of course.

I saw it about 2 weeks ago, and will be posting a review in the next 24 hours; we also got the opportunity to interview the star of the film, multiple award winner Omar Sy, earlier this week - an interview that will be posted also within the next 24 hours.

In the meantime, check out ReelBlack TV's interview with the directors of the film, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, in which they discuss, what else, the film; specifically, the attacks against the film as yet another so-called feel-good movie that promotes a the supporting stock character archetype known as the Magical Negro.

I think you'll find their responses quite interesting:

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5 Comments

  • duane | December 27, 2012 8:16 AMReply

    Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache , it seems like you don't know the history of your own country,
    France had a slavery past , you can ask people from the french caribbean (west indies) to tell you more (Martinique,Guadeloupe, Haiti ,Guyane) and also la Reunion

    u can also learn more with '' le code Noir'' made by Colbert.

  • Jeni | May 24, 2012 12:28 AMReply

    I saw the film at a screening in DC earlier this week. I was uncomfortable with what could be seen as immigrant stereotypes (all of those kids in one apartment, a criminal act, etc.) at the beginning of the film, but after about 40 min in, the real humanity of both characters came out and the movie became something much deeper, and more comedic than I expected. I give it an A-.
    I would be interested to know how blacks in France feel about the film, though.

  • Xi | May 24, 2012 12:00 AMReply

    You're right, Tambay. Their responses were interesting. From what I gathered, they don't quite understand that the concept of the magic negro or the problem with the stereotype, rather, is not just an American issue, it can be universal. Their portrayal of Sy's character could've gone horribly wrong. But at the same time, they obviously get it. They wanted to show that Sy's character was on the same plane as his employer, and from what I can tell from the trailers, they did that very well. Sy's character is not a one dimensional savior. His character seems very genuine (from what I see in the trailer) and after watching this interview, I can understand why. I'm excited to see this film! For the record, I'd also like to add: Yes. Negros are indeed Magical. You didn't know?

  • Steven | May 23, 2012 12:49 PMReply

    The same critics calling this film racist probably liked the Help, with that said, I heard a bit of dialogue compared the character Driss to Barack Obama because he was wearing a suit. Awkward. The real life story that the movie was based on the Driss was Arab. I think the "racial politics" is different in France like Ms Loupee said.

  • MsLoupeEcscrita | May 23, 2012 12:13 PMReply

    See I want to see this film, the directors are trying to appeal to Americans. They may not fully get the historical and social impact of the "magical negro" archetype in cinema. But they can comment on how an man of immigrant parents who comes from a lower class has friendship with an older paralyzed rich white guy. It's an interesting dynamic, I just have to see the film to fully understand. People shouldn't dismiss it because they assume that racial politics are the same in France. They are NOT!! Same can be said about Latin America countries and the UK and even is smaller degree Canada.

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