“Illégal is a committed, rebellious film,” he explains to Lieven Trio who is interviewing him for Metrotime . “My humanism makes me rebel against an unacceptable situation: locking up illegals in closed detention centres. But above all, this is the fight of a mother to find her son. I tried to make a real psychological thriller, but set against a firm background of social criticism, my examples being, among others, Ken Loach, Costa-Gavras and Iñárritu. Without comparing talents, of course!”
Always so modest, that Olivier. Yet Europe, firmly moving forward on a path which sometimes goes well beyond citizens’ concerns, needs talkative witnesses to provide reference points, to awaken the conscience of the people, to ring the alarm bell.
To RFI , obviously interested by the film’s theme, Olivier Gourmet further explains his idea and intentions: “’Watch out, by not respecting the other we end up not respecting ourselves anymore’, that is the message of the film. More specifically, if I become scum, well in that case I distance myself from myself. It is important the viewer identifies himself as deeply as possible with the character. I based my work on a reality: the presence of a strong Russian-speaking community in Belgium. I met a lot of those single mothers, there are more and more of them who arrive in our country. I didn’t want any racial or cultural barriers in the film. I wanted the viewer to be able to say “Tania, that’s me”. Through this film, I didn’t want to just preach to the choir, but also to people from the other side. So I had to make sure that the immigrant was like us as much as possible.”
Conscious of the fact he really touched on an essential debate, Le Soir opened the discussion too. The special report can be read here :
The producers/distributors of Illégal have by the way seized the opportunity and came with an open letter every surfer can sign. When popular film pinpoints a social phenomenon to this point, provokes this kind of reaction, we all feel something is happening, something important…
Also, an audio interview Olivier Masset-Depasse had with a radio from Marseilles can be heard here .