Directed by Bruno Ulmer.
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 1/30/07
My first film at Sundance 2007 was the
multinational documentary "Welcome Europa." Clearly, after
watching this film, I know one thing--being a street thug and a
minority in modern-day Europe is some tough stuff!
The film covers the lives of about eight
immigrants, young men who are of Romanian, Moroccan and Kurdish
descent who come to Spain, France and other mainland European
destinations looking for a new life after suffering in their
respective homelands. They find, much like many immigrants
learn when trying to move to the U.S., that life is not as sunny as
urban legend makes it sound, and most of the men struggle in their
first few years in a new place--many have taken to drug dealing,
male prostitution and other illegal professions in order to make
enough cash to survive on a day-to-day basis.
Although "Welcome Europa" is a documentary,
it has a style to it that makes it seem more like a feature drama,
at least when it is not having interviews take place between an
off-camera interviewer and each particular subject. The camera
shots are really tight--up close and personal takes on a new meaning
in this film. The actual story here wasn't that interesting to
me, though, because the immigrant-struggles-as-a-fish-outta-water
idea is quite well tread here in the States and changing the venue
doesn't change the outcome for most of these guys. It's a bit
of been-there, done-that for an American filmgoer who sees these
kinds of struggles in immigrant life here.
That's not to say that what is seen here
isn't important; no, "Welcome Europa" still has plenty to say.
I just wasn't buying as this is supposed to be the freakin' Sundance
Film Festival! I'll be anxious to see if this one gets picked
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard