Working mostly in Europe, Burkinabé thespian Issaka Sawadogo is a name that continues to pop up on this site, and one that you really should become familiar with, as I think it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood comes calling. Although, whether he’ll accept is another story altogether.
The actor co-stars in award-winning Swedish director Lisa Aschan’s second feature, titled ”Det vita folket” (or “The White People” in English) which is set for theatrical release in Sweden, on November 27. The likelihood of a USA pickup is probably small, but not impossible.
The film co-stars Pernilla August and Vera Vitali, and follows a group of immigrants awaiting deportation who are being held in an underground prison that’s run with an iron fist. They plot an escape at any cost, led by a new arrival played by Vera Vitali, in what is described as an topical thriller about power and hierarchies.
I couldn’t find any specific info on the role that Sawadogo plays. Based on the below trailer, it looks like he could be one of the people running the prison, as opposed to one of the immigrants; or there could be a hierarchy of immigrants. He’s getting top billing on the film’s marketing materials, along with Pernilla August and Vera Vitali, so it looks like his character is significantly involved in the unfolding of the narrative, and isn’t relegated to the periphery.
As for why the film is titled “The White People,” and how that informs the narrative, I can’t say. It could be that meaning gets lost in the literal English translation, and that the English title is actually something else entirely.
When I know more, so will you.
The film is produced by Anna-Maria Kantarius for Garagefilm International.
It received funding support in the amount of €0.9 million (about $1.2 million) from the Swedish Film Institute.
Films that Sawadogo stars in that we’ve featured on this blog, since we first learned about him, include “The Invader,” which he stars in with Italian actress Stefania Rocca, as a pair who meet, get involved against all expectations, and have an intense but very brief affair, which quickly ends, sending Sawadogo’s character down a spiral of desperation and violence.
The second film we featured was “De Nieuwe Wereld” (or “The New World”), the 2012 Dutch film in which Dutch actress Bianca Krijgsman co-starred. Written and directed by Jaap van Heusden (co-written with Rogier de Blok), the IJswater Films production follows the life of an unruly maid, working in an airport, who is startled by the arrival of a West African refugee seeking asylum, played by Sawadogo.
And the third film – his most recent – is titled “Diego Star,” a Canada/Belgium co-production, directed by Frédérick Pelletier. It’s a social-realistic drama which sees Sawadogo stars as an engineer from Ivory Coast, who works on a Russian cargo ship, and is held responsible, when the ship gets stranded off the coast of a wintry Canada.
Unfortunately, none of the 3 films is readily available in the USA. Although “The Invader” can be rented online via Vyer Films (www.vyerfilms.com), a new curation-oriented film streaming service, which acquired U.S. VOD rights to the stylish, moody, and provocative feature film debut last year.
A trailer follows below, although it’s not subtitled in English; but the images tell the tale.