Six years have passed since Bourgeois crossed the Mediterranean, passed through Italy and reached France clandestinely. Now he's stuck in Paris feeling homesick. His traveling companion, Kader, stopped in Italy, in Piedmont. He has just obtained a residence permit but learns of his father's death and plans a trip to the Ivory Coast to perform a ritual sacrifice and honor his tomb. Bourgeois, on the other hand, is mired in a timeless everyday life and struggles with his demons. But suddenly he receives unexpected news that will change his life. For his part, Kader will put his dreams aside and experience the harsh reality of returning to his homeland for the first time. But who have they become? Will it be possible for them to really return home?

The Stranger is a film focused on the relationship between Africa and the West, and it deals with the theme of the identity crisis experienced by Western Africans living in Europe. It is a film that appeals to different audiences and it takes the viewer on an existential journey. The Stranger is Joël Akafou's third documentary film and the culmination of a trilogy. In "Vivre riche," which won an award at Visions du Reèl, following a group of cheaters in Abidjan, we discover a youth made up, at first glance, of men who dream of success and who plan to get rich just by swindling. In "Traverser," premiered at the Berlinale, we are on the road with our characters who reach Europe wanting to build a future for themselves with dignity and courage, in order to bring money to their families. Through the journey of Bourgeois, Kader and other migrants who arrive in Italy, we discover that even the most educated cannot find work in their home countries. We measure the damage of corruption, focus on the disregard of African states' policies for their people, and see the anger and sense of helplessness of populations. In "The Stranger," we tell the condition of Kader and Bourgeois a few years after their arrival in Europe. Kader, settled in Piedmont, prepares to leave for the Ivory Coast after his father's death; Bourgeois, on the other hand, is still mired in a worrisome situation in Paris, always worrying about his mother and he takes refuge in prayer. Life in Europe is unsatisfying and feels alienated, different from what they had imagined. The characters seem stuck in a game of mirrors. They seem to live solely on the basis of the self-image they receive from their family and entourage. With this new film, Joël Akafou explores the notion of "foreigner," or rather the fact of always feeling foreign in Western countries. Indeed, the main problem seems to be that of being a stranger to oneself, even in one's own country. Lonan Tché, literally The Stranger in Baoulé language, wants to change the way Westerners look at migrants, but also the way Africans look at themselves.

Joël Akafou
Joël Akafou
Joël Akafou
Director of photography
Film Editor
Jeanne Oberson
Cast and characters

Kader Keita, Bourgeois

Executive Producer
Domenico Latanza
Organizzatore generale
Eleonora Trussardi
Executive production
Felix Salgado Lopez
FLorent Coulon, Gianluca De Angelis
Vraivrai films, Les films du continent, Tekla
con il sostegno di Film Commission Torino Piemonte - Piemonte Doc Film Fund - sviluppo dicembre 2023
Last update: 05 March 2024