From OpenwaterpediaEnglish Channel. The dramatic film was a box office success in France that speaks of contemporary social issues and the very nature of the human spirit.
Bilal (Firat Ayverdi), a 17-year-old Kurdish refugee, has spent the last three months of his life travelling across Europe in an attempt to reunite with his girlfriend who recently emigrated to England. The journey has been difficult, but the end is in sight when Bilal finally reaches the far north coast of France, where he can literally see the white cliffs of Dover across the English Channel. But it is here that his journey comes to an abrupt halt as local authorities, and the immigration laws they are enforcing, prevent him from going any further. Not content with merely looking upon the country he desires to call his home, Bilal devises a plan to swim across the bitterly cold waters of the Channel, and heads to the local swimming pool to commence his training. It is here that he crosses paths with Simon (Vincent Lindon), a middle-aged swimming instructor with a dejected spirit, who is privately reeling in turmoil as he dreads an imminent divorce from his wife (Audrey Dana). Despite their differing ages, the two men discover that they have much in common, and their friendship develops into a strong bond that will prove necessary for both men to realise their dreams for a happy future.