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The Boat is Full
(Das Boot is Vol)

Switzerland - 1981
Directed by Markus Imhoof


We follow the plight of a group of Jewish refugees, desperately fleeing the holocaust, who have crossed over into neutral Switzerland.  The refugees need help adjusting once they arrive in Switzerland, and while some of the Swiss people are willing to help them, there are those who vehemently reject them. 

We felt that the film was partly a self-examination of Swiss neutrality.   A formal political neutrality, such as the Swiss held during W.W.II, does not necessarily mean that the hearts and minds of the people are neutral.  With traditional ties to Germany, many Swiss felt sympathetic to their cause, some even actively participated in covert activities that aided the Germans. It should also be noted, of course, that many Swiss involved themselves in activities that helped the Allies.  However, as is implied in this film, many Swiss simply had the feeling that.....the boat is full......no more refugees, hence the title.  As refugees poured out of Germany and Eastern Europe during the days before and during the holocaust, doors were closed in every direction.  It's too bad a film has not been done to address the fact that America closed its doors to immigration entirely during this period.  How many lives could have been spared if there had been a more global, humanitarian response in those days preceding the holocaust?  We can only surmise.

The Boat is Full is a courageous film that delivers a message of great importance.  Nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (1982), the film won the C.I.D.A.L.C. Award from the Berlin International Film Festival (1981) as well as the Silver Bear Award for Outstanding Single Achievement for Markus Imhoof, director.

Runtime:  101 minutes

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