Laplaine's first short film was Le Clandestin, which he wrote, directed and acted in (playing a policeman in charge of a container dock in Lisbon). A French production set in Portugal,Le Clandestin examines African emigration and questions the dream of Europe as a "Northern Paradise" for immigrants.
A young African man jumps out of a container at Lisbon harbour. Attempting to meet his cousin in town, he is pursued by a policeman. He never meets cousin, and eventually decides to return to Africa.
Set in Kinshasa, the film shows "unauthorised communities" forming within the official city, and the struggle of characters to survive. A community project—a theatrical production about popular rebellion—provides the backdrop to the fall of President Mobutu Sese Seko.
^"'Bamako', winner of the first Council of Europe film award in Istanbul". coe.int. Council of Europe Press Division. 14 April 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2010. "The film “Bamako” (”The Court”), directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, has won the first film award of the Council of Europe ‘FACE’ at the International Istanbul Film Festival for its contribution to promoting human rights in accordance with the values of the Council of Europe and the principles of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law."