Archive of films Welcome / Welcome

2009, 110 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2009

Bilal, a 17-year-old Kurd, arrives in Calais in order to travel to England. Overwhelmed by circumstances in the middle of a foreign country, he meets a local swimming instructor named Simon who takes him under his wing. This immigrant drama offers a strong story while authentically capturing the community of struggling illegal aliens in the French port.


A 17-year-old Kurdish boy named Bilal arrives at the French port of Calais in order to travel to England to see his love. But he soon discovers that his trip to England won’t be as easy as he imagined. Despite not knowing how to swim very well, he invents a crazy plan to swim the English Channel. In debt and penniless in the middle of a foreign country, he is taken under the professional and personal wing of a local swimming instructor named Simon. Their encounter leads to tragedy on both sides. The immigrant drama Welcome offers a strong story and wonderful performances by both lead actors. The community of struggling illegal aliens in Calais is captured with authenticity: unwilling to return home, they nurture an inextinguishable hope of succeeding in the West. The film is shot with documentary austerity and minimalist style, even so, it maintains its emotional impact.

About the director

Philippe Lioret (b. 1955), French soundman, screenwriter, and director, has made Lost in Transit (Tombés du ciel, 1993), awarded Best Director and Best Screenplay at San Sebastian, Tenue correcte exigée (1997), Mademoiselle (2001), The Light (L’équipier, 2004), nominated for three Césars, and Don’t Worry, I’m Fine (Je vais bien, ne t’en fais pas, 2006), also thrice nominated for a César. Welcome was screened in the Panorama section at the Berlinale, winning the Ecumenical Jury Prize and the Europa Cinemas Label award.


5 rue Nicolas Flamel, 75004, Paris
Tel: +33 153 103 399
Fax: +33 153 103 398

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Philippe Lioret
Screenplay: Philippe Lioret, Emmanuel Courcol, Olivier Adam
Dir. of Photography: Laurent Dailland
Music: Nicola Piovani, Wojciech Kilar, Armand Amar
Editor: Andrea Sedláčková
Producer: Christophe Rossignon
Production: Nord-Ouest Films
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi, Audrey Dana, Derya Ayverdi, Thierry Godard, Selim Akgül, Firat Celik, Murat Subasi
Contact: Playtime


Philippe Lioret

Film Director


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