Perspectives on Conscience

by dcarl1 on November 18, 2013 - 11:27pm

Perspectives on Conscience

Motion Picture- Welcome

Director- Phillippe Lioret

Cast- Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi, Audrey Dana

     The film Welcome (Lioret, 2009) from the “Crossing Borders” film series was quite an enlightening movie. From the very first scene all the way to the last, you really never knew what Lioret had in store for you next. This may be partly due to the fact that Lioret strayed away from the usual “Hollywood film” turn of events. Lately, for the most part, the way films seem to develop are getting quite boring and by boring I mean predictable. Yes even the borderline pornographic images, swearing that could give a priest a heart attack, and monumental explosions become predictable at some point which in turn sometimes seems boring.  Thankfully, the film Welcome is a French film that includes different views towards illegal immigrants in another country of the world other than our own, the United States. This film generally focuses on the relations between different immigrants as well as the relations between the immigrants and locals plus the interactions from one local to another local. The main character, a Kurdish boy named Bilal was desperately trying to get away from the present day war-torn Iraq and he eventually he made it to Calais, France.  Calais is somewhat of a small port town on the northern coast of France bordering the English Channel between France and England. Bilal’s quest to reach England is driven by his love for his childhood love who now presides there.  Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t know how to swim and that is his only option for crossing the Channel.

            The film has multiple aspects that give the viewer that feeling of what the immigrants’ feel, which is the want to leave France after their long journey and make it into England.  Very early in the film, Bilal meets an old friend at the border in Calais and the two of them, along with a few others, try to illegally cross the border into England.  On this attempt they use the strategy of hiding in the trucks going through the border but it fails miserably because Bilal panics, due to some traumatic experience in his past, when they must hold a bag over their heads to mask their breath from the search dogs.  This part of the film does an amazing job at showing the reaction of the French and English citizens towards Bilal and other illegal immigrants which is also quite similar to illegal immigrants in the U.S.

Throughout the film the Kurdish immigrants are constantly seen as an invasive group of problems that aren’t needed or wanted. This fact is blatantly obvious through the excessive amount of immigration laws passed by the French government.  However, eventually Bilal finds his way to an indoor swimming pool in Calais where he then meets Simon. Lindon nailed his role as Simon being the leader amongst followers in an effort to do the right thing, when doing the right thing is against the law.  After their first encounter Bilal begins to receive swimming lessons from Simon and he paid for them at first, which ceased once Simon figured out who Bilal was.  Shortly after this, Simon opened his house to Bilal, allowing him to stay there whenever and for whatever amount of time he wished.  These examples are both significant for this film because at the time of this film, it was illegal and a major crime to help any illegal immigrant in any way, shape, or form.

            In my opinion, Welcome should easily be considered a two thumbs up film not only for the acting and the plot but the underlying message.  The message Lioret sought to show inconspicuously was that of perspective, specifically the different perspectives that can be taken towards immigration around the globe.  Lioret attains part of this “lesson” just by simply showing the viewer that everything doesn’t always end the way we want with the cliché fairly-tale garbage.  Something as simple as this kind of ending is what gives the viewer a completely new perspective on life and the controversial topic of immigration.





Lioret, P. (Director) Rossignon, C (Producer). (2009). Welcome (Motion picture). Available from IDP Films. Calais, France.