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Welcome - Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi, Audrey Dana, Philippe Lioret

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Welcome is an emotionally affecting drama about intersecting lives, unlikely friendships and the hope of new beginnings.

Bilal (Firat Ayverdi), a 17-year-old Kurdish refugee, has spent the last three months of his life travelling across Europe in an attempt to reunite with his girlfriend who recently emigrated to England. The journey has been difficult, but the end is in sight when Bilal finally reaches the far north coast of France, where he can literally see the white cliffs of Dover across the English Channel. But it is here that his journey comes to an abrupt halt as local authorities, and the immigration laws they are enforcing, prevent him from going any further.

Not content with merely looking upon the country he desires to call his home, Bilal devises a plan to swim across the bitterly cold waters of the Channel, and heads to the local swimming pool to commence his training. It is here that he crosses paths with Simon (Vincent Lindon), a middle-aged swimming instructor with a dejected spirit, who is privately reeling in turmoil as he dreads an imminent divorce from his wife (Audrey Dana).

Despite their differing ages, the two men discover that they have much in common, and their friendship develops into a strong bond that will prove necessary for both men to realise their dreams for a happy future.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Welcome theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film drama France romance French illegal immigrant English Channel Kurd swimming training London Calais shipping

Persons of interest

  • Vincent Lindon .... Simon
  • Firat Ayverdi .... Bilal
  • Audrey Dana .... Marion
  • Derya Ayverdi .... Mina
  • Thierry Godard .... Bruno
  • Selim Akgul .... Zoran
  • Firat Celik .... Koban
  • Murat Subasi .... Mirko
  • Olivier Rabourdin .... Lieutenant Caratini
  • Yannick Renier .... Alain
  • Omed Ahmad .... Eyaz
  • Karzan Sherabayani .... Azad
  • Ibrahim Kiransal .... Aran
  • Olivier Adam .... Screenwriter
  • Emmanuel Courcol .... Screenwriter
  • Philippe Lioret .... Screenwriter
  • Philippe Lioret .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Welcome is the kind of story that Australia never faces. People don't come here to get anywhere else. There is nowhere else after here, unless you count New Zealand. Or Antarctica. And penguins don't need passports. Nor do Kiwis.

I can't imagine Aussies organising soup kitchens for illegal immigrants (see Lucky miles). Mind you, I can't imagine anyone wanting to swim the English Channel, either, no matter what the motivation.

On the plus side, you will like the protagonist (Firat Ayverdi is about the prettiest Iraqi I've ever seen) because his dedication and devotion to the doe-eyed Mina are so pure. I can't imagine what that's like, either. Sucks to be me, but it sucks more to be Bilal, having travelled 4,000 kilometres only to run into the Channel (Hitler might've felt a similar frustration - heh, heh). Poor bastard. I know that the course of true love is never smooth but this is ridiculous. Fortunately, he has teenage hormones and the underdeveloped adolescent brain on his side so anything is possible. He also has the severely depressed Vincent Lindon to act as mentor and father figure. Boys do need to have a father if only for something to rebel against, but this dude is so messed-up that he's almost the wrong man for the job. Fortunately, he knows a lot about swimming. Unfortunately, he knows little about relationships. Fortunately, he has a lot of time on his hands. Unfortunately, he's emotionally impotent. Makes for a crap life but a good drama.

Welcome is heart-breakingly bitter-sweet. It's like eating the last chocolate in the box, only to find one more hidden under the wrappers. A lot is said about the political position of refugees/displaced persons/illegal immigrants in this film but it leaves enough unsaid that you can make up your own mind. I like that.

The drama, France, romance movie Welcome is directed by Philippe Lioret and stars Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi, Audrey Dana.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Languages: French, Kurdish
  • Special features:
    • Interviews: Director Philippe Lioret by At the movies' Margaret Pomeranz
  • Subtitles: English

Government security censorship classification

M (Coarse language and themes)

Surveillance time

106 minutes (1:46 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 1 April 2010
Disc: 11 August 2010

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