In a home for the physically disabled ex-union militant Rene (Gourmet), sufferering from a terminal wasting disease, decides he wants to experience the delights of the flesh before he shuffles off the mortal coil. Easier said than done, given his living arrangements, and as his frustration mounts so does the suffering he inflicts on fellow patients. Experienced nurse Sandrine (Chantal Neuwirth) is unable to cope with Rene's demands for a prostitute and so sweet-natured colleague Julie (Kaci) replaces her. Will she be able to meet his wishes, and at what personal price?
Writer-director Sinapi tackles the thorny subject of sex and disability with candour, aplomb, and integrity in this refreshing and wryly comic debut. Challenging the very notion of disability and the way in which society perpetuates its prejudices (filmed on digital video the film has something of the look of a docu-drama), Sinapi utilises verite-style hand-held camera to create an affecting immediacy and intimacy, all the while eschewing the sentimentality and empty didacticism so often to be found in films of this nature.
A largely non-professional cast - many of whom are also wheelchair users - accurately capture the frustrations and exasperations they face in their day to day lives. The professionals among the ensemble also equip themselves adroitly, with Gourmet (best known for his work with Belgium's Dardenne Brothers) and Kaci cooking up a wonderful rapport.
Imbued with a warm and genuine humanism, "Uneasy Riders" (the Nationale 7 alternate title is a French autoroute where prostitutes can be found) is a journey well worth taking.