Nobody doubts that one of the greatest legacies of London 2012 has been the Paralympics. It transformed the way we perceived disability. We saw athletes capable of sporting prowess. It was a Paralympics where spectators finally started to focus on ability rather than disability, a request many Paralympians have always made. Come As You Are, which will be released in the UK on 7 June, could not have chosen better timing.
These are guys in their twenties who love wine, but inexperienced with women. Under the guise of a wine tour they embark on a journey to Spain hoping to have their first sexual experience in a brothel specialised in people with disabilities: El Cielo (The Heaven). Jozef is blind, Philip is paralysed from the neck down and Lars is in a wheelchair with a brain tumour, but nothing will stop them.
Come As You Are [Hasta la Vista] is a story about love, unconditional friendship and lust. A story about humour as the only means to overcome painful situations. A film about intense desire as the most powerful motive behind man's struggle to push back frontiers. Man is driven by desire: it creates the capacity to do things he never thought he would be able to. The fulfilment of the desire is often secondary. It is a road movie in which the dynamics during the journey are more important than the destination.
Lars, Philip and Joseph go out on a particular mission, but on a higher level, their journey represents as much a fight for independence as a fight for a love and friendship on their own terms. This independence presents new restrictions and limitations. For in many instances they must depend on each other and on the paid helper Claude. In this confrontation with each other's limitations and talents, a complex interaction develops. With each mile, the experience of the journey and the bonds of friendship it brings about on the way, gains the upper hand on the visit to "El Cielo." As they say: "You're a long time dead, I wake up every morning and thank God that I'm alive. I love every moment I'm here on this Earth."
And in the process it goes beyond focusing simply on the boys' sexual goal.
"It's also about friendship," Enthoven, the director, explains. "At several points in the story you can see how friendship works: it's not about being nice to each one another, it's about being honest and knowing that you need one another."
Come As You Are is a charming and funny feel good film which will appeal to fans of the award winning comedy dramas The Intouchables, Rust and Bone & The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Come As You Are won the Audience Awards at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2012, the European Film Awards 2012 and the Montreal World Film Festival 2012 as well as the Grand Prix des Amerique and a special jury mention at the Montreal World Film Festival 2012. It is thought-provoking and very good at breaking up preconceptions we might have.