Uneasy Riders (Nationale 7)

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A group of medical therapists gets a new perspective on a patient's well-being in this drama with comic accents from France. Rene is a man in his early fifties who worked hard and led an active life until he was stricken with a degenerative disease that is slowly destroying his muscle tissues. Rene had already lost control of his legs when one of his arms begins to fail him, and he finds himself placed in an extended care facility for the physically and mentally handicapped, where he soon gains a reputation as a difficult patient. One day, while Julie (Nadia Kaci), one of the nurses, is tending to Rene, he announces that one of the reasons why he's so cranky is that he's desperate to have sex. Julie and her co-worker Sandrine (Chantal Neuwirth) ponder Rene's problem and decide they've been ignoring their patient's sexual needs, so they try to figure out what they can do for him. Rene is not averse to spending an evening with a prostitute, but they discover there are legal complications to this plan; if Julie or Sandrine obtain a hooker for Rene, they could be arrested for pimping, with the facility also liable. Searching for a loophole, Julie and Sandrine discover that they would be afforded legal protection if a doctor were willing to prescribe a session with a prostitute for Rene, but getting a doctor to write a script instructing Rene to pay a woman for sex is an uphill battle in itself. Meanwhile, Julie has her own love life to think about -- she's infatuated with self-centered therapist Jacques (Julien Boisselier), even though Roland (Lionel Abelanski), a drab but good-natured delivery man, is obviously in love with her. Shot on digital video, Nationale 7 was transferred to 35 mm film for its theatrical engagements; the film received its North American premiere at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


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