If the opening shot of a director's first feature film can be considered a statement, Nicolas Provost has made his point. I won't spoil the fun by telling what the shot consists of, but this is what Provost tells the audience: here I am, I'm not afraid of controversy, and I don't care what others think.
Not only the opening shot, but the complete opening scene shows what kind of a film maker Provost is. It's a beautiful scene, in more than one sense, that tells a whole world without words. There's no dialog in the scene, but the meaning is all the more powerful.
This may sound as if The Invader is a difficult and hard to understand film. It is not. It is crystal clear and very straightforward. Basically, it's a big city thriller about an illegal immigrant.
The way Provost handles the theme of illegal immigration, is very interesting. Most recent European films about this theme show the immigrants as poor, helpless, desperate people who should be pitied. Le Silence de Lorna, Illégal, Lichter and In This World are cases in point. The Invader is completely different. African immigrant Amadou is a proud man, who doesn't let himself be humiliated by anyone. He hopes to make it in Brussels by using his guts and his charm with women. If necessary, he lies, steals and even kills. Amadou can be very charming one moment, but very threatening the next. The story is set in Brussels, which is shown in beautiful photography, with its sleazy as well as its glamorous sides.
While telling Amadou's story, Provost doesn't shy away from violent and erotic scenes that some may find controversial. Sex, race and gender are prominent themes. This is a daring and noteworthy debut film. I'm already looking forward to Provost's next movie.
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