Biography

Filmography - directed

Filmography - produced

Filmography - written

From the Flanders (i) magazine

Playing the invader

Actor Isaka Sawadogo and director Nicolas Provost were both a long way from home when they met in Oslo in 2003. They channelled their common experience of living in Norway into the short film Exoticore, whose success led to a series of feature film roles for Sawadogo, all with a Flemish connection. The most recent examples are the Toronto selected Hotel Swooni by Kaat Beels and The Invader, Provost’s feature debut which is also invited to Venice.

Text: Ian Mundell; Portrait: Bart Dewaele

Isaka SawadogoSawadogo has acted on film and TV in Norway and Africa, but his major cinema roles all spring from his first encounter with Provost in Oslo. The phone call came out of the blue, asking Sawadogo if he was interested in appearing in a short film that Provost was making on a shoestring budget before returning to Brussels. The director wanted to say something about the difficulty he had experienced integrating in Norwegian society over nearly a decade living in the country. ‘The story is the same one that all strangers in Norway experience,’ Sawadogo says. The idea created an immediate connection between them. ‘We had the same feeling about Norway. Not anywhere, but Norway in particular.’ In Exoticore, Sawadogo plays an African man working as a driver on the Oslo subway, whose friendly advances to workmates and the people he meets in daily life are either brushed aside or dismissed with outright hostility. Playing up to people’s stereotyped view is no more successful, and finally he is driven to extravagant acts of revolt and passive acceptance. The film took just a few days to shoot and then Provost went away to edit the images. When it was finished in 2004 it started to appear in film festivals, winning prizes for its leading actor. ‘People saw it and contacted me about long film roles,’ Sawadogo says, ‘and they still do now.’

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Published on Thursday 28 July 2011

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