He is considered the “Mount Everest” of long-distance swimmer: The 33 kilometers of the Channel between Calais and Dover are themselves well trained professionals to cope only with accompanying boat and a lot of luck. But it can not deter the 17-year-old Bilal. The young Kurd time has now set his mind to flee to England. Nothing can stop him, not even ten hours in ten degrees of cold water or the 500 boats that are here every day on the road.

Bilal (Firat Ayverdi) is not the only one who stuck in Calais, where the authorities, the refugees and humanitarian workers with all legal and semi-legal means to harass. Because the escape attempt fails as a blind passenger truck, sees the young man only one way. It takes hours of training with Simon (Vincent Lindon), the local swimming instructor. Standing the fate of those stranded here, were more indifferent. But perhaps he could reclaim his wife with a humanitarian action. She has learned to love in their commitment to the refugees a new one, which puts less social ignorance of the day when Simon.

This is the stuff for two films in one: a social drama that is told about a relationship story — on the convergence between Bilal and Simon, who gradually developed paternal feelings for the young sturkopf. Director Philippe Lioret (The wife of the lighthouse keeper), weaves the political and social emotional thread almost imperceptibly into the fabric of who takes the action to push forward. His concern that he not parades, is a major plus for this seemingly unspectacular film that reveals his technical mastery only on second glance. Cleverly, as Lioret creates the figure of Simon: If this man standing next to him always an easy one Trauerkloß gooder with a pure heart, then everything would be lost for a political Schnulze weltschmerzgeplagte social workers. But Vincent Lindon gives the Simon a mysterious aura, something vague and unpredictable. It is as if this man fall into a coma many years, disillusioned by failures in his career and in love, staggering through a day in which he has established himself, who for a long time but no longer interested. And then there’s this boy and shakes with his enthusiasm and his unbending determination to Simon’s better sites out of deep sleep.

Just as precise as the emotional ties to the fictional characters has Lioret social substructure highlighted his long-distance documentary-style feature film. Before the script was written for Welcome drove to Calais, the director and writer, spoke for several weeks with the human rights defenders, looked at the lousy accommodations, the life-chances for escape and the harassment by the authorities. All social facts, which are addressed in the film, according to the situation on the ground. Even the figure of Bilal is modeled on real models. Lioret actually hit a 17-year-olds who wanted to England to find his girlfriend again. And he heard that some were doing was really desperate to swim through the channel.

All this for the director as a shock, as he confessed in an interview. And indeed so great that he allowed himself to be a Nazi comparison, “All this could have taken place in 1943 and could be about a guy who is hiding with him and the Jews caught.” There are pre-programmed course, headlines, the film has not even necessary. The admirable effortless way to tell a moving story to which everyone can make their own rhyme.

(Peter Gutting)

Title: Welcome Country of production: France Year of production: 2009 Length: 115 (Min) of material: (# ) Arsenal Film Distribution

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