A Not So Welcome

by mmann5 on November 18, 2013 - 9:11pm



The film Welcome (Philippe Lioret, 2009) deals with an Iraqi-Kurdish illegal Immigrant in France and the serious human rights issues of asylum seekers. It shows the struggles for refugees escaping their war torn countries. In particular Bilal who is trying to cross the English Channel from France to the UK.  The film mostly followed the story of Bilal and Simon, a swim teacher. Simon who was currently in the middle of a divorce, decides to help Bilal in his quest to cross the channel. The movie really depicted how hard it was for refugees in France. Many did not have shelter or food. Residents were looked down upon for helping them in anyway. It was even considered a crime to house them in your home. Bilal wanted to make it to the UK so he could get to his girlfriend, Mina. The only real communication the people of France have with the refugees is from volunteering at a makeshift soup kitchen. Throughout the movie is shown how much the immigrants are looked down upon. I believe it really provoked the audience as we saw the struggles of the immigrants just trying to make it, and France just pushing them down. Throughout the film the police are after Simon. It is illegal to welcome an asylum seeker in your home. It seems so unusual and unfair that these immigrants are not welcomed since they are just trying to save their own life. The government is constantly against them. One of the more terrifying moments in the film was the scene in which Bilal tries to cross the border on a truck. They have to wear bags over their heads so that they won’t detect the carbon dioxide in their breath. But Bilal freaks out because as a child he was captured and kept with a bag over his head for days. It is absolutely tragic to see him suffer and the fear in his character as he remembers the experience. These illegal immigrants suffer so much. They are given a master status of illegal immigrant and therefore different from everyone else. But they are just like everyone else, with family and inspirations. But their struggle for life is so much harder. When Simon first meets Bilal at the pool, he sees the true dedication he has. He has no idea how to swim but he practices very hard.  I think this scene shows an important part of his culture. He has a lot of dedication and motivation. I think most people I know would have given up. But he does not give up. Asylum seekers deserve support coming from the serious, life-threatening conditions they are escaping. It’s hard to understand why the French don’t want to help them. France’s policies are shocking. You would think anyone would want to help them. Since most people think it is wrong to help them, others tend to follow the idea.





Lioret, P. (Director), & Rossignon, C. (Producer). (2009). Welcome [DVD]. France:

         Nord-Ouest Productions.






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