The philosopher with cerebral palsy who beat Spider-Man at the box office

The philosopher with cerebral palsy who beat Spider-Man at the box office

The philosophy has been disappearing of schools little by little in Spain. It has always been considered a second class subject. One of those boring subjects kids study out of obligation without understanding its importance nor why their advocacy is essential in school curricula. While here we see the mistreatment of philosophy year after year, in France it has been a philosopher who has defeated Spider-Man himself. He is not just any philosopher. This is Alexandre Jollien, the writer awarded by the French Academy with the Mottart prize for aid to literary creation and the Motyon prize for literature and philosophy. Jollien also has cerebral palsy, which has made him not only an example in his field, but also in self-improvement.

It has been his first foray into the Marvelous Minds cinema, the film that made Spider-Man bite the dust at the French box office and drop from the first position he had had for weeks. To achieve this, Jollien has written the script together with his friend Bernard Campan. Together they have praised friendship without labels. A song to break down prejudices that emphasizes the normalization of the situation of people with cerebral palsy. Although the story of Beautiful Minds, that of the impossible friendship of a selfish bachelor who works in a funeral home and a paralyzed vegetable delivery man, is fiction, it is clear that there is much of his own experiences.

First, that of Jollien, who lived 17 years in an institution for people with disabilities. There she began to read everything that fell into her hands and fell in love with philosophy. Then, the story of the friendship of the philosopher and the director. Both interpret the two protagonists and that chemistry crosses the screen. A film that has much of another success of French cinema, Untouchable, with the difference that here it is the person with paralysis who plays himself and not an exhibitionist exercise of the fashionable actor who wants to win prizes.

It was precisely Untouchable who paved the way for this film to be shot. "A producer friend saw our friendship, that there was something around her and that something had to be done, but I didn't even know where to start writing. Now it seems obvious with the film already here, but initially we thought of a biopic about Alexandre and his 17 years in a center for people with disabilities. A film about him. But one day, after seeing Untouchable, it was Alexandre who told me, what do you think if I write and you direct me? We started thinking about the story. I had a friend who works in a funeral home, I put the two ideas together and this film was born," says the director.

The two have known each other for 18 years. Bernard Campan was watching a literature program on television and Alexandre Jollien appeared there, with his charisma and transferring his passion for philosophy. The film is for the viewers, but it is also a gift they have given to "an unconditional love", the one they have for each other. "It is complicated in life to have a relationship that is not influenced by any type of calculation or condition, but for me our friendship is like that," says Jollien himself.

Jollien's passion for philosophy was born as a form of rebellion against the center where he was and where he studied: "I didn't like the classes at all, everything seemed very abstract to me. One day a priest told me that he was a philosopher, and I didn't understand what he wanted say, so I looked up the word in the dictionary and started reading philosophy. That changed my life. It was as if I had found a partner, a friend with whom I even had an affective relationship that made me think about life, and so on until It became my calling." For this reason, he refuses to accept that philosophy leaves schools because for him it is "something vital". "The school is not here to educate consumers, but to free minds, and to want there to be no philosophy in schools would be a tragedy," he adds.

Many have praised the film's example of visibility and others have highlighted its ode to tolerance, a word that Alexandre Jollien likes very much, although he ironically remarks that when people say it they do not realize that "the word ' tolerance' implies an effort". "I don't tolerate my wife or my children, but I love them. The film shows that we are different, but I think that more than talking about tolerance, it talks about openness, and how freedom means freedom from prejudice," he says.

Philosophy is also important in the plot, and even was in the filming, since "Alexandre said from the beginning that I had to have a philosophical vocation." He was referring to taking care of their relationship and that there was no anger, something that they admit with laughter that "it has been complicated" and that they have discussed "a lot". "If you want to get mad at a friend, make a movie with him," says the director wryly.

In Beautiful Minds there is always a theme flying over, death. An issue that fills the conversations of these two friends, and that they consider "a fundamental topic of reflection", because death is also in everything that ends: "Also in this film: there is a moment in which for us it is dying, And that's tragic, but it's as much a part of our lives as humor is."

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