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Welcome
IMDB Rating: 7.6/10 from 5,593 votes
Release: 30 July 2009 (Netherlands) /

Welcome

Genre: Drama
Director: Philippe Lioret,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Bilal is 17 years old, a Kurdish boy from Iraq. He sets off on an adventure-filled journey across Europe. He wants to get to England to see his love who lives there. Bilal finally reaches Calais, but how do you cover 32 kilometers of the English Channel when you can't swim? The boy soon discovers that his trip won't be as easy as he imagined... The community of struggling illegal aliens in Calais is captured with authenticity, from the point of view of people who arrived there knowing nothing about France. This immigrant drama, with wonderful performances by the actors, is a strong story which uses documentary austerity and minimalist style to create a great emotional impact. Written by Warsaw Film Festival

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Critic Reviews


I am a judge for the Indianapolis-based Heartland Film Festival. This feature film is a Crystal Heart Award Winner and is eligible to be the Grand Prize Winner in October of 2009. The Heartland Film Festival is a non-profit that honors Truly Moving Pictures. A Truly Moving Picture "…explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life."

Bilal is a 17 year-old Kurdish boy from Iraq, who has just taken an arduous, three-month journey to Calais in France desperately trying to get to his girlfriend/fiancée in London. But in Calais he becomes stuck with many other clan-destines or illegal immigrants. These are people without a country. The French won't send them back to the Mid-East because there is a war going on. But they are not welcomed in France because they are clearly illegals. Even the local French people will violate French law if they help these clan-destines.

With this backdrop, Bilal comes up with the idea that he can swim the English Channel to get to his girlfriend. There is only one problem. He can't swim. He goes to a middle-aged French swim instructor, Simon, who not only teaches him how to swim, but also befriends him. Simon has his own problems. He is divorcing his wife and is terribly lonely. Bilal and Simon need each other and form a strangely beautiful symbiotic relationship.

This is a quiet and powerful statement on the individual courage and sacrifice of normal human beings. Bilal and Simon are single-minded in trying to do the right thing and will not be put off their objective. This is a very moving film that haunts you afterwords. It does not take a stand on legal or illegal immigration. It merely shows that these clan-destines are human like the rest of us and have their own stories.

FYI – There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.

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