Welcome without borders
by Aurore Engelen
After causing a major stir in France, Welcome [+see also:
interview: Philippe Lioret
film profile] hits Belgian screens this week. With his sixth feature, Philippe Lioret confirms his status as a popular and critically acclaimed French director.
With this hybrid film – combining scathing political commentary and a love story – the director has once more created a true tearjerker, three years after Don’t Worry, I’m Fine [+see also:
film profile] (almost 890,000 admissions in France).
Welcome retraces the ordinary gesture of a man in love – rendered extraordinary by the law. In order to win back his wife, he decides to help a Kurdish illegal immigrant cross the Channel. By helping the immigrant avoid slowly rotting in the Calais jungle, he himself comes under police suspicion.
Not mincing his words when describing in the press the situation observed in Northern France, Lioret provoked the wrath of the new French immigration minister. This political anger hasn’t prevented French audiences from turning out in droves to see the film.
The film’s team came to support Welcome at its avant-première screenings in Brussels and Liège, thus ending a media marathon that has helped shed light on the fate of illegal immigrants waiting for their ticket to England, whatever the price. Cinéart is releasing the film in Belgium on 11 screens, on an almost perfectly bilingual print run, which is quite a rare occurrence.
This week is otherwise low on European releases. Elisabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love is being launched in Flanders, ahead of a French-language release scheduled for July by Abc Distribution.
(Translated from French)
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