Florida Film Festival
Directed by: OLIVIER MASSET-DEPASSE
BELGIUM/LUXEMBOURG/FRANCE, 2010, 95 MIN
In French and Russian with English subtitles
Illegal immigration is a hot topic practically everywhere, and filmmaker Masset-Depasse intended to raise people’s awareness of what life is for detainees. Spending more than a year working with a journalist and visiting a detention center near his home, the director captures such institutions in powerful and riveting detail. Illegal Russians Tania and her 14-year-old son are just surviving until she is captured by authorities. How much will a mother endure to protect her son? Anne Coesens as the titular illegal has to carry the film and does, amazingly so (winning the Best Actress FIPRESCI award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival). Putting a human face on the issue and its problems, with its harrowing look at the abuses in the system, what remains is the determination and dignity of one woman. The film was Belgium’s official 2010 Oscar selection and played both the prestigious festivals at Cannes and Venice.