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Program 5

Closed Country


Thursday, May 9,2013, 7 p.m. 

„Das Boot ist voll“
Markus Imhoof, CH 1981, 100 min, german OV

„Das Boot ist voll!“ („The boat is full!“) – this sentence was pronounced by many swiss people during WWII. In the same-titled book, the journalist and writer Alfred A. Haesler critically deals with the swiss asylum policy and opened the eyes of a broader public on this previously concealed story. According to the Bergier report, over 20.000 refugees were turned away at the swiss border or deported from the country during the second world war. Between 1938 and november 1944, around 14.500 entry appeals were denied.

Imhoofs feature film – one of the first history-political cinematic interventions of this kind – fictionalizes the stories of a group of refugees that have been cobbled together randomly and who secretly and successfully crossed the swiss border. Markus Imhoof: „What all of them cannot know is that this refuge is illusive, that refugees don´t have a right to asylum 'just for racial reasons' and that the borders are closed for 'aliens' since a while. Half-heartedly hosted and semi-betrayed by swiss people, the refugees are even prepared to disclose their existence in order to rescue themselves. They form a grotesque family to fulfill the conditions under which the immigration authorities still allow exceptions. This game of hide-and-seek only works out for a while, then the 'heimat' ('homeland') is reconfigured, those without a home pay it with their lives.“

born 1941. Studied german philology, art history and history in Zurich. Assistant at the Schauspielhaus Zurich, film student at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zurich. Founder of two film production companies. Guest lecturer at film schools in Berlin, Milan and Zurich. Opera and theatre productions in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Freelance film director since 1969, recent project: „More Than Honey“ (2012).