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THE BOAT IS FULL

Switzerland, 1980 (MIFF 1981)

Director: Markus Imhoof

A group of refugees have managed a dangerous escape into Switzerland in the Second World War. They include: Judith, a young Jew whose husband has been in a Swiss refugee camp for some time, her brother Olaf, the grey-haired Ostrowskij with Gitty his grand-daughter, the French orphan Maurice and a German deserter.

In the morning they are discovered, exhausted, in a vegetable garden. Anna Fiuckiger takes them into the house, but Franz, her husband, has already alerted the police. Franz sees the look of desperation on the strangers' faces too late.

Hidden in the wash-house, the refugees wait for the police to come. Disguising their own personalities, they hurriedly try to form themselves into a family in order to fulfil the conditions for political refugee status. 'Racial grounds' alone are not sufficient: only women and children under six years old are admitted — if they are lucky.

”The best films in the New Directors/New Films series co-sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, are those that qualify as discoveries. The Boat is Full is something more, something in the neighbourhood of a revelation. Markus Imhoof, who wrote and directed this Swiss-German-Austrian co-production, works with such grace and assurance that he in no way seems to be a novice, notwithstanding the series' title. His film is fresh, purposeful and suprising at every turn.”

Janet Maslin New York Times

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