This review of Welcome is apart of the Florida Film Festival series. It is often only at Film Festivals do you have the chance to view films that would not normally be seen in the U.S. market. Its the reason why Film Festivals exist. The Florida Film Festival yearly selection offers some of the richest content and challenging films from around the world. The 2010 line-up includes Welcome, a French drama film that portrays the life of a teenage Iraqi refugee, Bilal, living as an illegal in Calais, France. He seeks to venture to the United Kingdom where his girlfriend’s family immigrated. As she approaches being married off to a cousin, Bilal befriends Simon, a swimming coach who teaches him to swim across English Channel.
Welcome gives us a look into the desperation of Iraqi refugees. French citizens are restricted to minimal contact with these illegals, aiding them is criminal. Simon struggles with the hope at rekindling the flame between him and his newly ex-wife, and the French authorities questioning his hospitality toward Bilal. While the film initially within Bilal’s perspective, the film tends to switch to Simon point of view. Perhaps this measure is show the growth of Simon, who finally begins to reach out to his ex-wife for romance again. This choice to leave the point of view with Simon at the end of the film is nod for the viewer to pass along the experience to someone in similar shoes. Welcome is the antithesis of The Hurt Locker. Where the Oscar winner looked inside the psyche of bomb disposal unit and left the politics behind–Welcome tears the layers away to reveal an inhumane gap in the French laws regarding aid to illegal immigrants. And so it goes, like any great1 film, it makes a difference. There are talks in France that may extend aide to illegal immigrants.