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Movie Review: Welcome

Alternate Title: Limbo

Story: The dream of getting to a promised land is universal and often met with disappointment. The topic of illegal immigration is explored sensitively and effectively by French film director Philippe Lioret and was written by Mr. Lioret, Emmanuel Courcol and Olivier Adam.

Bilal, a 17 year old Iraqi has walked over 3000 miles from Mosel, Iraq to Calais, France, determined to get to England to be with his sweetheart, Mina. She has recently emigrated with her family to London. Bilal hits a roadblock when he discovers that getting to England is difficult and fraught with danger. Without spoiling the story I can say that Bilal decides to reach England by swimming the English Channel. He meets Simon, a swimming instructor who will become pivotal to his life. The swimming instructor risks much since draconian French law says that if you help illegal migrants you can be jailed for five years.

The film successfully puts you directly in the shoes of Bilal, who has risked everything to reach his destination and also into the heart and soul of Simon, who discovers new lengths and breadths he will go to in order to help this stranger.

If you are pro-immigration you will find much to think and feel about this fine new film. If you are anti-immigration you probably will be staying away from this film. Immigration is a hot button issue these days. If you had any doubts about it - I am pro-immigration.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t40ANH4Pe14

Acting: Vincent Lindon as Simon was pitch perfect. Firat Ayverdi as Bilal, will steal your heart. Audrey Dana as Marion, was terrific as were Derya Ayverdi as Mina, Thierry Godard as Bruno and Selim Akgul as Zoran.

Trivia: Philippe Lioret, 54, who began working in cinema as a sound mixer and script editor in the early 1980s, directed his first feature, Lost in Transit in 1993. Loiret says of this film "The theme of my film is immigrants, but its subject is the drama between two couples. I wanted to explore this theme through the real life of people—those like you or me—who generally don’t know much about the problems of undocumented refugees and how, when confronted with the issue, it changes their lives." He spent six weeks living with immigrants and the volunteers in Calais, and after that learnt enough about these issues to write a script.

Predilection: None

Critters: None

Food: Pizza

Opening Titles: Titles are at the end.

Visual Art: Calais looks very cold and worn but the inside of Simons apartment is warm and lived in.

Theater Audience: 10 men and me. Nine of the men were bald. All of us were reading the New York Times before the movie started. I laughed at that.

Weather: Damp, foggy and cold.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Anti-immigration activists make me squirm.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: Moderate

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen if you can.

Length: Under two hours.