WELCOME is the multi award-winning new film from writer/director Philippe Lioret – a compassionate and inspiring drama about the unlikely friendship between two men contending with issues of lost love and dislocation.
17-year-old Bilal (Firat Ayverdi) has spent the last three months travelling illegally across Europe, in an attempt to reunite with his girlfriend who has moved with her family to England.
The long journey is almost over when he finally reaches Calais, on the far northern coast of France; he can literally see his destination from across the Channel. But with all legal options exhausted, Bilal resolves that his only option is to learn to swim, and make the dangerous crossing himself.
Bilal seeks the help of middle-aged instructor Simon (Vincent Lindon), who is privately reeling from impending divorce from his socially conscious wife Marion (Audrey Dana). In an effort to win her back, Simon impulsively – and uncharacteristically – risks everything by taking Bilal under his wing.
After premiering to acclaim and two prizes at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival, WELCOME earned major critical attention in France, and helped trigger an intense public debate over the hardline policies of the Sarkozy goverment.
Driven by strong audience reaction, the film became one of
the biggest hits of the year, achieving over 1.2 million admissions.
On 25 November 2009, WELCOME was awarded the prestigious Lux Prize for Cinema by the European Parliament.
WELCOME is in cinemas July 1st.