Director: Olivier Masset-Depasse
Screenplay: Olivier Masset-Depasse
Starring: Anne Coesens, Esse Lawson, Alexandre Golntcharov
Running Time : 1h 35 min
Distributor: Haut et Court Film Movement
FRANCE, BELGIUM, LUXEMBOURG, Year of production: 2010
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Tania and her fourteen year old son Ivan are Russians who have been living as clandestine refugees in Belgium for eight years. Constantly on alert, Tania dreads police checks until the day when she is arrested. Mother and son are then separated and Tania is placed in a detention center. From then on, she is prepared to do anything, even face expulsion, to find her son.
Illégal was awarded the Prix du Jury de spectateurs 2010 and the Prix des Lycéens 2010 at the « 15èmes Rencontres du Cinéma Francophone en Beaujolais ».
Anne Coesens received the Best Actress Award at the 25th Namur Festival.
Born in 1971, in Charleroi, a cold and unforgiving industrial town, Olivier Masset-Depasse escaped the austerity of his surroundings by throwing himself headlong into drawing, only to grow frustrated with the limits of the art : namely the fixity of the image. In 1985, after watching Elephant Man, he decided to devote himself to moving pictures and directed several short films, each of them winning top prizes at whatever local festival it competed in. Inevitably, he moved to Paris to pursue his studies at the IAD (Institute of dramatic arts). Olivier Masset-Depasse’s cinema typically deals with the toxic relational circles that trap us as human beings and notably the animal instinct that escapes and controls us however much we may attempt to rein it in. Formally, he seems to prefer a more subjective point of view, thereby challenging the viewer’s comfort zone. Image and sound must metaphorically reflect the character’s disposition, hence the intermingling of psychological naturalism and lyrical evocation in his work.
These esthetic and thematic choices initially manifest themselves in his short films : Chambre froide (2000) and Dans l’ombre (2004) which garnered over 50 awards. In 2006, he directed his first long feature : Cages, with Sagamore Stévenin and Anne Coensens, first shown at the International Film Festival in Toronto. Two years later, Illégal deals with the topical and troubling plight of refugees in an increasingly inhospitable Europe.
Director’s Selective filmography
2010 - Illégal
2008 - Cages
2000 - Chambre froide