Documentary Film Series: The Fortress
Documentary Film Series
Moving Subjects: Screening the Migration Crisis
The Fortress /// La Fortresse
Director Fernand Melgar /// 2008 /// Switzerland /// 100 min /// in French with English subtitles
For the first time, a camera penetrates without restrictions into the universe of a reception center for asylum seekers in the Swiss town of Vallorbe. It takes a human gaze at an austere transit camp, where 200 men, women and children, torn between doubt and hope, await the state's decision on their future. With its barbed wire and non-stop surveillance cameras, the center is a trying place for those with an uncertain future. Only 1% of cases receive asylum status; the others are given either provisional admission or 24 hours to leave the country. Empathy and distrust punctuate the exchanges between the residents and the staff of the centre, who are in charge of applying the most restrictive asylum law in Europe. A Somali man with a tale of cannibalism is deemed unreliable, while a Colombian family's chilling account of murder appears far more genuine. A balanced and engrossing look at the problems facing both staff and applicants.
GUEST: Anikó Bakonyi (Hungarian Helsinki Committee)
Anikó Bakonyi works with the Refugee Program of the HHC. She coordinates educational project The Refugee Law Reader and takes part in the Refugee Program’s human rights monitoring and information provision activities.
Documenary Film Series curator: Oksana Sarkisova (OSA)
Visual Studies Platform (VSP) is a cross-disciplinary initiative designed to explore and propose innovative approaches to research and teaching visual imagery in the digital century.
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