Monday 17th February 2020
Drama/Thriller – Germany
10.00 am & 6.30 pm
Directed by Michael Herbig
Sub-titled 125 mins PG
In the summer of 1979, the Strelzyk and Wetzel families–who had been working on their audacious plan for more than two years–try to flee East Germany in a self-made hot-air balloon. After sewing and tinkering for weeks, the amateurs make their first attempt. Metres from the West German border, their balloon suffers from the rain and crash lands. The Stasi find traces of the attempted escape and immediately launch an investigation. In a nerve-wracking race against the clock, the two families attempt to build a new escape balloon. The authorities, desperate to track down the traitors, become aware that a second attempt is being planned, get closer and closer each day.
“The film’s main strength lies in its convincing depiction of what it was like to live under the restrictive totalitarian state that was East Germany.” – David Stratton, The Australian.
“German critics are divided with some saying it is too near the knuckle in times of political turmoil regarding reunification and immigration – but to this critic (admittedly ignorant about such things), I found it to be incredible, tense and watchable”. – Jamie East, The Sun (UK).
“The film is a solid political thriller, with good edge-of-the-seat tension if you don’t mind everything slightly over-cooked.” – Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald.