The Power of Love
by frazeefeet on November 19, 2013 - 5:45am
Despite the differences that people share between various cultures and societies across the globe, there are still certain values that remain universal that allow us to connect with those that we do not think we have anything in common with. One such value, as cliché as it might seem, is love. This idea of love as a uniting force between cultures was apparent in the film, Welcome (Loiret and Rossignon, 2009). Despite social and cultural differences, a middle class French man was able to help an illegal Iraqi-immigrant try to reunite with his lover in England. The power of this uniting force was seen mainly through the development and characterization of the films characters.
Throughout this film there were very important scenes and such but it was definitely the characterization that played the largest role in emphasizing the ideas of culture, social issues, social structure, and social interactions. There was a clear progression of character development mainly within the French man, Simon, that helped the Iraqi-immigrant, Bilal. Simon began as a hardened character that had experienced his victories and hardships within his career and also his love life considering that he was going through a divorce. He then met Bilal and began to give him swimming lessons and became intrigued by his dedication. This is where his characterization began to change. It progressed to the point where Simon invited Bilal and his friend over to eat and stay the night because he now was aware of their situation and status, despite the fact that housing and assisting them was illegal. Simon even began to train Bilal outside of the swimming pool in the English Channel once he discovered the true meaning behind Bilal’s desire to swim, which was to cross the English Channel to reach his lover. This struck with Simon since he was currently dealing with a divorce and at one point even gave Bilal his wife’s former wedding ring to give to his lover in England. The film ended with Bilal drowning in the English Channel in an attempt to avoid the Coast Guard which then resulted in Simon travelling to England in search of Bilal’s lover in order to give her the ring and tell her the news of Bilal’s death.
Even though the film did not end on a happy note, the power of character development was very strong. The progression of Simon’s character was very clear and emphasized the idea of embracing differences. Bilal and Simon were from two completely different social groups: Bilal and illegal immigrant from Iraq with almost nothing and Simon an established swimming coach and former champion with a stable lifestyle. Through this preliminary establishment of these characters, it was easy to see how the relationship between Bilal and Simon changed for the better in specific scenes where either their differences were embraced or emphasized. One such scene was when all of Bilal’s friends/illegal colleagues were trying to pay for a shower at the gym and Simon came, shooed them all away and told Bilal that they could not come back or else he would not provide swimming lessons. This is a perfect example because despite the fact that it looked like these men needed a shower, Simon turned them away. This is because he associated their appearance in terms of their ethnicity and lack of cleanliness with lower class and therefore did not want to deal with it. Yet, on the opposite side of the spectrum, after Simon began to get to know Bilal and become more accepting and soft-hearted to his situation and status, he gave Bilal his wife’s former wedding ring to give to his lover. Simon was able to look past their social and cultural differences and see Bilal as the genuine human being that he was and provided an aspect of materialistic culture that emphasizes the importance of the uniting power of love.
Welcome (Loiret and Rossignon, 2009) was a wonderful example of how meeting people can change our perspective on almost everything. Every person has his or her own story and we can all affect each other with these stories. It is our job to decide whether to be open to hearing them or not. Simon was not willing to listen to Bilal’s story at the beginning of the film, but by the end he had become one of the most crucial characters. Even though we all share differences, it is possible to find similarities within those differences, just as Simon and Bilal did.