Impact | VIFF Impact
Swiss filmmaker Markus Imhoof’s quietly angry documentary weaves together his childhood memories of displacement and tragedy during WWII with the current refugee crisis in Europe.
For Imhoof (The Journey; More Than Honey) this is a keenly personal history: in 1945, when he was four years old, his parents took in Giovanna, a malnourished 8-year-old refugee from Italy. But it was not long before the authorities sent her back, and though the Imhoofs petitioned for her return, her condition deteriorated rapidly… Some thirty-five years later, Markus Imhoof would win the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival with the dramatic feature, The Boat Is Full, inspired by these memories. So what has changed in our own era’s mass migration crisis? Images of flimsy dinghies capsizing in the Mediterranean; of refugees being processed, identified, classified, and then dumped in ironically-named "transit" camps for interminable months pass without commentary, but are stingingly refracted through the filmmaker’s insistence on empathy, conscience and compassion.
"I would not have thought 35 years ago that the title of my film [The Boat is Full] would be concrete and urgent enough once again to force me to shoot another film on the subject. Following my last documentary More Than Honey I began to work on two film projects: one about migration and one about money. While doing research, I soon discovered how tightly related these two themes are, and that the theme of migration cannot be told independently from the topic of money."