The Invader

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A Belgian-made film currently showing tackles the emotive subject of illegal immigration; Federico Grandesso spoke to the director

Director Nicolas Provost’s film is his first full-length feature
Director Nicolas Provost’s film is his first full-length feature

After a string of awardwinning, critically acclaimed shorts, this is Belgian director Nicolas Provost’s first full-length feature film, a tale of one of thousands of illegal African immigrants landing on the shores of Europe. The story of The Invader takes place in Brussels and revolves around the two main characters: a beautiful married business woman and Amadou, an exploited African immigrant with a strong personality, played by Issaka Sawadogo.

Provost says he wrote the story for Sawadogo, an actor from Burkina Faso with whom he had worked before on several of his short films. He insists this is not a sentimental film about immigration.

“I didn’t want to do a political film or to make any judgement,” he says. “I don’t give Amadou a positive or romantic image; he will become the monster in the movie.”

Born in 1969 in the city of Ronse in Flanders (which, incidentally, boasts one of the oldest railway stations in Europe) Provost says he knows what it is like to be an outsider, having lived in Norway for ten years, where he says he never managed to totally integrate and always felt like a foreigner.

The opening scene of The Invader sees Amadou washed up on the shores of a nudist beach, which Provost says is supposed to be reminiscent of a painting, The Origin of the World, by French Realist Gustave Courbet.

“Amadou and his friends are the survivors of a desperate journey and they land on a southern naturist beach. The naked woman represents the beauty and the dream.”

As for Brussels as the location, he says: “I chose Brussels because I think it is a very cinematic city, like Paris or New York. In all my films the city is a character in the film.”