Beautiful Minds, French title Presque, currently showing at Sydney Film Festival is an uplifting, warm and fuzzy French film which has not yet even been released in cinemas in France!
Beautiful Minds is inspired by prized author and philosopher, and now director, screenwriter and actor, Alexandre Jollien’s real-life experiences. Jollien co-directed and co-wrote the film with Bernard Campan who is alongside him on-screen as well..
Igor (Alexandre Jollien), an organic vegetable delivery man with cerebral palsy riding on his tricycle crosses paths (quite literally) with Louis Caretti (Bernard Campan, A bag of marbles (un sac de billes), AFFFF 2017), a funeral director driving past. What follows is an unlikely road trip and ultimately an unexpected friendship between this unlikely pair.
Igor, despite life’s difficulties owing to his disability, and accompanying loneliness, is upbeat and quotes heavily from philosophy. The philosophical greats, Nietzsche, Plato, Montaigne and Spinoza to name just a few that are quoted throughout Beautiful Minds, provide the mantras by which Igor lives his life. When he sees people staring at him because of his gait, he smiles and waves. He tries not to let what other people think define him. But like all human beings he has insecurities as well.
Louis Caretti is a funeral director with a lot of funerals to manage. He is polite but never engages further than needed with his clients or even his at times exasperated, dedicated staff member Nicole. To top things off, he’s now got a funeral to arrange where the 2 ex wives won’t agree on funeral arrangements – “we’re not cutting him in half!” and another where he is unable to reach the daughter and has been left with a dog that has nowhere else to go.
It’s quite beautiful seeing Igor and Louis bond and ultimately Igor coaxing Louis out of his routine and encouraging him to live a little. Igor doesn’t worry about the next day. He lives in, and for, the now. It’s a pleasure to watch Igor shaking off any worries about what others think about him, a quality we could all take on board.
Early in the film, we see Igor riding his tricycle around town on his delivery routes, navigating roundabouts and busy roads. Despite him being careful and capable, as the viewer we can’t help but fear what may be about to happen with every roundabout he encounters. Perhaps there is a philosophical lesson in there for us all – something about fearing the worst rather than hoping for the best or living life as Igor would.
The film has been billed as a comedy and while it definitely has comic moments, I’d probably describe it more as a feel-good film, if there is such a genre. Beautiful Minds is a really lovely film that will nourish your soul and have you leaving the cinema with a smile on your face.
Screening and tickets for Beautiful Minds
There are only 2 screenings left of Beautiful Minds at the Sydney Film Festival. We recommend you go see it (before people in France have even had the chance!):
- TONIGHT Sunday 7 November 6pm Palace Central 1
- Sunday 14 November 5:45pm Dendy Newtown 1
French release date: 26 January 2022
You may also like to view our other Sydney Film Festival 2021 content:
If you’d prefer to stream French films at home: