Bilal is 17 years old, a Kurdish boy from Iraq. He sets off on an adventure-filled journey across Europe. He wants to get to England to see his love who lives there. Bilal finally reaches Calais, but how do you cover 32 kilometers of the English Channel when you can't swim? The boy soon discovers that his trip won't be as easy as he imagined... The community of struggling illegal aliens in Calais is captured with authenticity, from the point of view of people who arrived there knowing nothing about France. This immigrant drama, with wonderful performances by the actors, is a strong story which uses documentary austerity and minimalist style to create a great emotional impact.Written by
Warsaw Film Festival
Thought-provoking and moving picture on human solidarity and affection
After watching this movie in an almost desert movie theatre I was overwhelmed by sadness, but after reflecting upon it, I could discover very positive feelings and a very interesting view of the theme handled. What I liked most is the idea of intertwining the story of human solidarity between Bilal and Simon with the also deep relationship between Simon and his wife Marion. I intended the movie truly thought-provoking in the way it manages to make one reflect on the concept of the "other", who is not only the distant, unknown one, and on the idea that human solidarity begins with those who live with us or near us day after day. Marion is so animated by the need to help the poor, abandoned clandestines, that she has in turn completely abandoned, physically and psychologically, her husband, to the point of being no longer able to see his truly loving soul. And the sad, moving and intense story between Bilal and Simon will help both to understand the value of human affection, which starts from the nearest ones, leading naturally to the furthest ones. I think this is a very interesting perspective, which goes beyond social denunciation and void criticism of institutions, because it appeals to the conscience of the single man and woman and seems to ask him/her: how much are you ready, in first person, to give to others, to go beyond selfish needs, how much are you able to sympathize with anyone, where anyone is a member of your family, as well as the "anyone" you may meet on the journey of your life? The cast, above all Vincent Lindon and Audrey Dana, are extraordinarily good in the way they manage to speak with conciseness and naturalness to the heart of the viewer. It is a movie which makes one reflect deeply on the reality of the clandestines (with which each European citizen and authority have to come to terms daily, without often finding certain and respectful attitudes) but more deeply on the very essence of human affection. A must see.
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