In “The Enemy”, Jérémie Rénier plays a politician accused of murdering his wife. Freely inspired by a news item that shook Belgium, Stephan Streker’s film carries away with the mystery and the confusion that runs through its characters.
With The Enemy, the Belgian director Stephan Streker, distinguished at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival with the film Noces, captures a news item that shook Belgium, but relatively unknown in France. The story, freely adapted from the Wesphael affair, focuses on a famous politician, accused of having killed his wife, who was found dead one night in their hotel room. Is he guilty or innocent? Nobody knows. And maybe he doesn’t either…
“I had heard about the news item but I didn’t really know what had happened. I discovered without discovering it, because, very quickly, Stéphane Streker asked us precisely not to be interested in it at all, to move away from it to be a virgin and to be able to integrate what he wanted to tell through this incident.“
A mystery surrounds this affair which greatly interested the director and screenwriter Stephan Streker in his approach. “It’s a story in Belgium on which everyone has an opinion. No one knows what happened between Louis Durieux (name of the character played by Jérémie Rénier, Ed.) and his wife (played by Alma Jodorowsky). The only thing we know is that she came out dead from that hotel room in Ostend.”
“A lot of people have a point of view on it, have certainties, he continues, and I found it very interesting to make a film where we show a character who is full of doubts. That’s what the enemy is: it’s the enemy within. He is only surrounded by people who have certainties for him.”
And to add: “Beyond that, it’s a story with extremely strong moral issues. It’s a fascinating story to tell, and which allowed me to reflect on the truth, the guilt, and what interested me was the characters apprehended in their intimacy What I call their intimacy is the relationship of self to self.“
“It is a complex role, where there are several readings“, adds Jérémie Rénier. “And after that the work was to open all the doors, to look for all the readings, to try things with Stephan Streker, to ask questions, and then all the body work that was necessary for me to meet the character . It’s intense because it requires a huge part of oneself, to surrender, to dispossess oneself of one’s body, one’s mind, one’s thoughts.”
Interview at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival 2020