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Controversial Belgian Immigrant Parable 'The Invader' Gets First Full Trailer & Poster

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 15, 2012 4:20 PM
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This is one film that I've been really curious about since we first profiled it last fall; I've been tracking it, hoping that it might eventually screen somewhere in my neck of the woods (NYC), but that hasn't happened yet. 

Soon I'm sure.

You guys were mostly negative on it, if the last 2 entries we've posted about it are any indication; but based on what I've seen and heard thus far, I'm intrigued, and would like to see the entire thing. 

The brand new first full trailer below gives us much more to chew on than the brief *controversial* intro clip that was included in past posts, which turned off a lot of you. That was all we really had to go on... until now.

Not that I expect this full trailer will suddenly have any effect on you, and I'm not even saying that it will be a good flick (I haven't seen it); but maybe it'll at least make you curious enough to want to see the rest of it, as it did for me... then again, maybe not.

As a quick recap...

It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, screened at the Venice Film Festival, and later made its Stateside debut at the AFI Film Festival just a month or so after. The AFI Film Fest is in LA, so I wasn't there to attend. Earlier in January this year, it screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival - a festival that also serves as a showcase for Oscar hopefuls.

Finally, it most recently screened at the Seattle Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Best New DirectorThe film is Belgian Nicolas Provost's feature debut.

It's one of a handful of films we've profiled over the last year that explore some angle of the African immigrant's experience in Europe, to put it broadly. 

Titled The Invader, it stars Burkinabé actor Issaka Sawadogo, and Italian actress Stefania Rocca, as Amadou ("a robust and bold illegal immigrant"), and Agnès ("a married upper-class woman who works in the real-estate and artistic sectors"). The pair meet, get involved against all expectations, and have an intense but brief love affair. When they break up, Amadou’s life "takes a turn towards desperation and violence."

Suffice it to say that things don't end well ;)

Its full official synopsis reads:

Amadou, a strong and charismatic African man, is washed up on a beach in southern Europe. Fate leads him to Brussels where, full of optimism, he tries to make a better life for himself. Exploited by traffickers, his daily life is slowly drained of hope, until he meets Agnès, a beautiful and brilliant businesswoman. She is seduced by his charm and force of character, while he projects all his hopes and dreams onto her. The illusion quickly shatters, and Agnès breaks all contact with Amadou, who little by little sinks into destructive violence, struggling with his inner demons.

This little bit from a Cineuropa review might help further (written after it debuted on the Lido at Venice last year to a packed house):

Amadou, on the run from his native country and from those who brought him, welcome him and feed him, clings desperately to the interest Agnès shows in this strong and brazen man, the antithesis of her close circle. However, soon the truth will inexorably come between “Obama” (as Amadou calls himself) and Agnès, turning them into archetypes of their social class: he a criminal; she a respectable person who gives money to the needy more in order to keep him at a distance than to help him. Amadou does indeed need money, but this isn’t what he desires.

If any S&A readers saw it at any of the festivals it's screened in, do share your thoughts.

The new English-subtitled full trailer is embedded below (full poster underneath):

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  • Karen Marie Mason | June 21, 2012 7:13 PMReply

    whoa. very unpleasant.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | June 19, 2012 5:34 PMReply

    Sounds like "Native Son" territory.

  • Shelley | June 16, 2012 7:22 AMReply

    I live in Oslo, Norway in Northern Europe. I live with racism on a daily basis and where the only box black people are put into is the victimized, social welfare baby in need of saving by the white man. I won't be seeing this film because if its intention is to perpetuate the myth that only blacks exploit other blacks through trafficking and everything else bad that befall us Black Europeans -- living here I know that's plain and utter bullshit. I bet mr. Provost will never make a film on how ethnic Europeans exploit and marginalize legal, law abiding immigrants & Belgian born children with immigrant parents through systematic institutionalized racism, making it almost impossible for the vast many to find legitimate work, buy a home, own a business etc. Europe is fast becoming the new America where racial stereotypes, racial profiling and all that wonderful stuff abounds. I know he'll never make that film so thanks but no thanks.

  • Charles Judson | June 16, 2012 7:07 AMReply

    We actually we screened it at ATLFF back in March. I haven't seen it yet myself. Based off audience reaction coming out of the theater, it was a polarizing movie to say the least.

  • Logic | June 16, 2012 3:49 AMReply

    They should have just titled this "Othello 2: Electric Boogaloo" and called it a day. Pass.

  • michele | June 16, 2012 1:32 PM


  • Emmanuel | June 15, 2012 10:50 PMReply

    I have to see this.

  • Vanessa | June 15, 2012 5:53 PMReply

    I want to see this. O_o

  • the black police | June 15, 2012 4:55 PMReply

    Why does "every" movie featuring a black character as the central character have to be CONTROVERSIAL? Like come on, GET OVER YOURSELVES!

  • the black police | June 16, 2012 8:06 PM

    Those statements were sarcastic... They were made to highlight certain viewpoints...

  • Laura | June 16, 2012 12:49 PM

    TBP it looks like you are problematizing Black features i.e. the little girl hair in "The Beast of the Southern Wilds" and Tracy Higgins complexion in the new "Twilight" movie installment. Methinks thou protest too much.

  • BluTopaz | June 16, 2012 9:41 AM

    Because of the Birth of a Nation vibes. I don't consider that to be a Black movie either, in case you are wondering.

  • the black police | June 15, 2012 9:36 PM

    Why dont you consider the movie to be a black movie?

  • BluTopaz | June 15, 2012 9:11 PM

    TBP: First--this is not a Black movie. Second: The reason why that clip is considered controversial (I'm guessing you didn't see it) was the sight of a Black man on the beach, staring lovingly at a naked White woman who looks like David Bowie. If you don't understand why the synopsis of sexual tourism where a Black person is the hired help is "controversial", maybe you should go back to looking for controversy re: the little girl's hair in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Third: The filmmaker is Belgian. You might want to try telling a group of Europeans about why you think this movie is not controversial, see what kind of response you get.

  • the black police | June 15, 2012 7:53 PM

    "Every" in my initial post is to highlight the fact that I am engaging in HYPERBOLE. If you need me to say it, here it is: NOT ALL BLACK MOVIES ARE DEEMED AS CONTROVERSIAL. I am TIRED of everything about black people being problematized. Our skin. Our features. Our hair. Our clothes. Everything, it seems. Why cant a movie just be? Why does it always have to be CONTROVERSIAL especially when whatever is being said to be a controversy is not really one. The moment a black person is put on screen, people start analyzing the ulterior motives behind their every move. "Why is she so lightskin?" "Why is she so fat?" "Why is her skin so dark?" "Why did they pick such a masculine looking woman to represent us?" "Why is her love interest a white man?" "Why the brother gotta be eating some chicken?" Like come on. Not EVERYTHING needs to be problematized.

  • Curtis | June 15, 2012 5:35 PM

    WTF are you talking about? Won't ""every" movie featuring a black character as the central character" be pretty much every black movie? So every black movie is controversial. Wait let me guess, your next question will be "what is a "black movie"?" And then I'll have to respond, and then you'll respond, and I'll respond, and...

  • Nadia | June 15, 2012 5:30 PM

    Oh look it's the 12-year old again. Tambay I think you left the gate to the kiddie sandbox open again. May want to shut it and keep the kids locked inside.

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