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Closed Country

Festival del Film Locarno 1999
Berlinale 2000: Panorama

Closed Country

CH 1999 82'

Director: Kaspar Kasics
Script: Stefan Mächler, Kaspar Kasics
Camera: Matthias Kälin
Sound: Laurent Barbey
Editing:: Myriam Flury, Kaspar Kasics
Music:: Mich Gerber
Production:: eXtra-Film

Kaspar Kasics 1999 82'

For the first time since the events, they have a chance to confront each other: Charles Sonabend and Fritz Straub, Sabine Sonabend and Sister Anne-Marie. Some 50 years earlier Straub was responsible for the Swiss border post at which the Sonabend family was deported to Germany, into the hands of the Nazis. The sisters at the local nunnery followed to the letter the instructions they received from the local police chief, Heinrich Rothmund. A moment of truth for the survivors on both sides, for both persecutors and the persecuted. A moment also of surprise for the Popowski family, who had been personally welcomed at the border by Rothmund in the same period. The fate of the Sonabend family is closely linked with that of the Popowskis, in a way that Heinrich Rothmund could never have guessed.

"This startling film documents the journey of the brother and sister back to Switzerland, where they confront people from their past, including a former government border official and a nun from a monastery where the children briefly were hidden. The insensitive and intolerant attitude of these Swiss people is shocking."
The National Center for Jewish Film