Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 2009
Country: FRANCE
Language: French and Arabic
Run Time: 116 minutes


There are few things in life as intense as teenage love. In WELCOME, 17-year-old Bilal will stop at nothing to be reunited with his girlfriend who has immigrated to England. A Kurdish refugee, he has already travelled across Europe for three months to find her. When he finally reaches Calais in the north of France, only the English Channel stands between him and his destination. Immigration laws prevent him from entering England legally, so he must devise a way to cross the border another way. Determined to see his beloved again, he endeavors to swim across the channel. He only has one problem: he can't swim. Still, Bilal is not discouraged. He finds Simon at the local swimming pool and implores him to help by teaching him to swim. Simon, a lonely man who hopes to repair his failing marriage, agrees to train Bilal. In the process, the two men form a friendship that may deliver both of them to their destinations. WELCOME, an ironic title for a film that delves into the tricky politics of the immigration policy in the 21st century, is a bittersweet and deeply compelling social drama. (In French and Arabic with subtitles) – B.K.

CIFF34 Screenings

Monday, March 22, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Philippe Lioret, Emmanuel Courcol, Olivier Adam

Philippe Lioret

Philippe Lioret is a well-known French director and screenwriter. He was born in Paris in 1955. He has been nominated for several Cesar awards.

"The Light" (2004), "Turn Off" (2005), "Don't Worry I'm Fine" (2006), WELCOME (2009)

Christophe Rossignon

Laurent Dailland

Andrea Sedlácková

Principal Cast
Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi, Audrey Dana, Derya Ayverdi, Thierry Godard, Selim Akgül

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