2010 Season
London, New York

Young Kurdish refugee Bilal (Firat Ayverdi), is driven to escape his war-torn life and begin anew in England. His journey is stopped short on the shores of Calais, France, but his determination to reach his girlfriend across the channel is fierce. Treated as an outsider by his fellow refugees, he is befriended by swimming instructor Simon (Vincent Lindon), a man who has chosen his isolation, but warms to Bilal's passion to reach his true love. We enter the world of refugees caught between worlds, trapped in a place where they are living in fear, and those who risk helping them face retribution. Ayverdi's performance is an impressive debut, conveying a combination of desperation and hope that a future holds promises that will erase the abuses of his past. Although the film centres on the friendship that grows between Bilal and Simon, it is clear that their situation is not an isolated case. Bilal is one of thousands traversing Europe under cover and by any means necessary, while authorities hunt down refugees who have avoided the bureaucratic and seemingly impossible processes that would allow them safe passage.

Philippe Lioret