Oct 19 2010

“Illégal” Luxembourg co-production in Oscars race

Published by at 01:05 under Articles,English

SOURCE: http://www.station.lu/edito-14297-illegal-film-trailer.html#

A Luxembourg co-produced film “Illégal” dealing with the delicate subject of illegal immigrants, has reached the 2011 Oscar nominations list for Best Foreign Film.

We currently live in paranoid times with the threat of terrorism being a catalyst for immigration clampdowns and one of the reason cited for the increase in unregistered immigrants being expelled back to their country of origin.

OK, terrorism is not the only reason but it has forced the immigration subject to the forefront of just about every country’s agenda, several of them moving more and more politically to the right.

We all seem to be debating and arguing about what’s right or wrong, what’s legal or illegal, who should be sent back to their country etc, as the personal human aspect is lost under mountains of confusing legislation. What about the immigrants themselves?

A new film by Olivier Masset-Depasse co-produced by Belgium and Nicolas Steil with Iris Productions for Luxembourg called “Illégal”, turns the stark reality story of illegal immigrants on its head. It tackles the problems faced by immigrants themselves and their point of view, following the plight of a mother and her son living illegally in Brussels, even though a lot of the film was shot in Luxembourg.

Tania and her 14 year old son Ivan are Russians and have been living illegally in Belgium for eight years. Constantly on the alert, Tania lives in fear of police check ups until one day she is arrested.

Mother and son are separated as Tania is placed in a detention centre. She tries everything to be reunited with her son but does not escape the threat of expulsion.

The film is seen through their eyes, their point of view, and a lot of the footage cleverly shot, up close and personal with handheld cameras giving it that pseudo-documentary feel and enabling you to really identify with Tania. You almost feel part of the film.

Belgian actress, Anne Coesens plays Tania in an extremely difficult challenging role, yet gives an outstanding, nay breath-taking performance of an absolutely convincing role. Her job was not made any easier by the fact that half of the film is in Russian, a language she spent learning 5 months before shooting. Her method was to learn her Russian lines phonetically so as to sound as convincing as a Russian as possible.

As for Ivan, played by Ukranian, Alexandre Gontcharov, his performance is extremely touching and brilliantly acted. His character never gives up hope in being reunited with his mother, ready to give up his life to join his mother in the detention centre, something that she never allows him to do.

Olivier Masset-Depasse, the film’s producer explained that the story is based around Russian immigrants and not, for example, African or Asians in an attempt to bring the story as close to home as possible. Added to that the fact that Belgium has a large unregistered Russian speaking population, it seemed a natural choice. Indeed, you instantly identify and sympathise with Tania’s situation.

But that’s not the entire story as the harshness and impersonal methods used by the authorities in processing immigrants is treated in a “matter of fact” approach rather than opinionated. However we do see glimmers of sympathy in one of Tania’s guardians at the detention centre who eventually quits her job, unable to cope with the stress and conditions of the centre.

Emotions run high throughout the film, and as Tania’s only thoughts are for her son Ivan, alone outside the detention centre where she is prisoner, you join her on her journey through anxiety, love, frustration, fright, anger and despair.

Co-produced by Belgium and Luxembourg with Iris Productions being the Grand Duchy’s arm, this is a film that is bound to ruffle one or two feathers, and will have you talking about it once you come out of the cinema. It is no surprise that it is on shortlist for the Oscars. Illégal will be Belgium’s entry for Oscar 2011 nominations for best foreign film. It is also up for a whole list of other awards, deservedly so.

The film is mostly in French but a lot is in Russian with French subtitles, so you do have to be good in French to follow the film. It does exist with English subtitles and special screenings may well crop up in Luxembourg, so keep an eye out for those.

This is another great film to come out of the Iris Productions stable (in co-production) and a must-see if you are interested in locally produced films. Truly thought-provoking. The only thing left to say is, go and see it!

For more information about the Illégal, including more film extracts, go to the official website: www.illegal-lefilm.fr

Although the film clearly states that it comes out on October 13th, neither of the two big cinemas in Luxembourg seem to be listing timetables for Illégal, but both advertise it.

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SOURCE: http://www.station.lu/edito-14297-illegal-film-trailer.html#

A Luxembourg co-produced film “Illégal” dealing with the delicate subject of illegal immigrants, has reached the 2011 Oscar nominations list for Best Foreign Film.

We currently live in paranoid times with the threat of terrorism being a catalyst for immigration clampdowns and one of the reason cited for the increase in unregistered immigrants being expelled back to their country of origin.

OK, terrorism is not the only reason but it has forced the immigration subject to the forefront of just about every country’s agenda, several of them moving more and more politically to the right.

We all seem to be debating and arguing about what’s right or wrong, what’s legal or illegal, who should be sent back to their country etc, as the personal human aspect is lost under mountains of confusing legislation. What about the immigrants themselves?

A new film by Olivier Masset-Depasse co-produced by Belgium and Nicolas Steil with Iris Productions for Luxembourg called “Illégal”, turns the stark reality story of illegal immigrants on its head. It tackles the problems faced by immigrants themselves and their point of view, following the plight of a mother and her son living illegally in Brussels, even though a lot of the film was shot in Luxembourg.

Tania and her 14 year old son Ivan are Russians and have been living illegally in Belgium for eight years. Constantly on the alert, Tania lives in fear of police check ups until one day she is arrested.

Mother and son are separated as Tania is placed in a detention centre. She tries everything to be reunited with her son but does not escape the threat of expulsion.

The film is seen through their eyes, their point of view, and a lot of the footage cleverly shot, up close and personal with handheld cameras giving it that pseudo-documentary feel and enabling you to really identify with Tania. You almost feel part of the film.

Belgian actress, Anne Coesens plays Tania in an extremely difficult challenging role, yet gives an outstanding, nay breath-taking performance of an absolutely convincing role. Her job was not made any easier by the fact that half of the film is in Russian, a language she spent learning 5 months before shooting. Her method was to learn her Russian lines phonetically so as to sound as convincing as a Russian as possible.

As for Ivan, played by Ukranian, Alexandre Gontcharov, his performance is extremely touching and brilliantly acted. His character never gives up hope in being reunited with his mother, ready to give up his life to join his mother in the detention centre, something that she never allows him to do.

Olivier Masset-Depasse, the film’s producer explained that the story is based around Russian immigrants and not, for example, African or Asians in an attempt to bring the story as close to home as possible. Added to that the fact that Belgium has a large unregistered Russian speaking population, it seemed a natural choice. Indeed, you instantly identify and sympathise with Tania’s situation.

But that’s not the entire story as the harshness and impersonal methods used by the authorities in processing immigrants is treated in a “matter of fact” approach rather than opinionated. However we do see glimmers of sympathy in one of Tania’s guardians at the detention centre who eventually quits her job, unable to cope with the stress and conditions of the centre.

Emotions run high throughout the film, and as Tania’s only thoughts are for her son Ivan, alone outside the detention centre where she is prisoner, you join her on her journey through anxiety, love, frustration, fright, anger and despair.

Co-produced by Belgium and Luxembourg with Iris Productions being the Grand Duchy’s arm, this is a film that is bound to ruffle one or two feathers, and will have you talking about it once you come out of the cinema. It is no surprise that it is on shortlist for the Oscars. Illégal will be Belgium’s entry for Oscar 2011 nominations for best foreign film. It is also up for a whole list of other awards, deservedly so.

The film is mostly in French but a lot is in Russian with French subtitles, so you do have to be good in French to follow the film. It does exist with English subtitles and special screenings may well crop up in Luxembourg, so keep an eye out for those.

This is another great film to come out of the Iris Productions stable (in co-production) and a must-see if you are interested in locally produced films. Truly thought-provoking. The only thing left to say is, go and see it!

For more information about the Illégal, including more film extracts, go to the official website: www.illegal-lefilm.fr

Although the film clearly states that it comes out on October 13th, neither of the two big cinemas in Luxembourg seem to be listing timetables for Illégal, but both advertise it.

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