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Der 10. Mai

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Die Bedrohung

ISAN: 0000-0000-D660-0000-Q-0000-0000-X

Franz Schnyder 1957 90'

One early morning in May 1940, border guard Tschumi comes upon a German fugitive, Kramer, who is trying to swim across the Rhine to get into Switzerland. He swears the Gestapo are after him, and requests political asylum. Unable to provide proof that he is in danger, he faces being sent back to Germany. But Tschumi turns a blind eye and lets him in. Then, on May 10th, Germany invades Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. German troops are stationed opposite the German-Swiss border. Taken by surprise, the local authorities order a general mobilisation to prepare against attack. Kramer reaches Zurich where he meets Anna, a childhood friend who has become a seamstress. She advises him to seek help from the Heftis, who are influential people. However the Heftis have already left for central Switzerland like many other wealthy families. The fugitive spends a long night in an attic, expecting to be denounced at any moment by Anna's brother-in-law who lives with her. The next day, Kramer decides to give himself up to Inspector Grimm, who will decide on his fate… To make this film, Franz Schnyder had to produce it himself. He found some partners with whom he created Neue Film AG, which enabled him to carry out the project so dear to him. Indeed, he had first-hand experience of May 10, 1940 as a soldier in a mountain regiment, and witnessed the behaviour of his wealthy fellow countrymen – fearful of losing their asset – who fled to the centre of Switzerland. In 1956, the year Franz Schnyder was working on the script, the Hungarian uprising against Soviet domination took place. He decided to underscore the analogies between these two events, i.e. the aggression of a small country by a bigger one. Despite the film's historical interest and a positive critical response, the public snubbed the film; it was later bought by the German government and used as a teaching tool to explore the strengths and weaknesses of democracy.