New York, NY – March 1, 2012 – During a recent television appearance on France 3’s National French Journal, founder and former president of France’s National Front party Jean-Marie Le Pen, as no surprise to the French who’ve witnessed his past tirades, disgraces France by making this analogy comparing the country’s socially progressive current state to the circumstances in the film THE INTOUCHABLES. Le Pen is notorious for advocating that France be a closed community, and he sees this film as a representation of the progression that France is making – which he is vitally against.
“France is like this handicapped person stuck in this wheelchair, and we are going to have to wait for the help of these suburb youngsters and the immigration in general. I don’t subscribe to this point of view. It’s a movie, a novel. And we have to take it that way and not like an example for the future. It would be a disaster if France would find itself in the same situation as this poor handicapped person,” said Le Pen.
THE INTOUCHABLES directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano chose to inspire audiences with this film and its true story by uncovering the philosophy that race, religion and class do not separate people and that they have nothing to do with the humanity of people and their potential for friendship and love.
The Weinstein Company Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein denounced Le Pen’s statement.
“It’s not a surprise to hear such an intolerant statement from the man who founded and was president of the extreme-right, xenophobic, racist National Front party. Le Pen made a repulsive statement, representing a bigoted world view. And right now, Jean-Marie’s daughter, Marine Le Pen, is running for president of France as the leader of the National Front party — and she is fourth in the polls with almost 16% of the population intending to vote for her. That’s frightening to me, and I think it’s important to speak up and speak out against Le Pen and his ideas. That’s why I’m proud to bring THE INTOUCHABLES to American audiences. This movie is based on a true story, and it’s a funny, extremely entertaining illustration of how simple human connection trounces socioeconomic, religious and racial divides. “
THE INTOUCHABLES tells the true story of a wealthy, physically disabled risk taker, the picture of established French nobility, who lost his wife in an accident and whose world is turned upside down when he hires a young, good-humored, black Muslim ex-con as his caretaker. Their bond proves the power and omniscience that love and friendship can hold over all social and economic differences. It is the 2nd highest grossing film of all time in both France and Germany and will be released in the U.S. by TWC on May 25. It premieres tonight in New York at Rendez-Vous with French Cinema’s Opening Night at Alice Tully Hall.