Europe is in the grip of an immigration crisis: people from Africa, the
Middle East, and elsewhere are arriving in ever greater numbers as they
flee war, oppression, and a lack of opportunity. Germany receives more
asylum seekers than any other European country.
presents the human face of the immigration crisis, following four
migrants from Syria, Kenya and Cameroon as they wade through Germany's
rigorous immigration process and await the final verdict on their
applications for asylum.
At the initial registration center in
Eisenhüttenstadt, the men bond with fellow asylum seekers and attempt to
stave off boredom and growing anxiety about their future.
all four, Germany is their only option. There is no “Plan B” should
their applications be rejected. Some face life threatening circumstances
if they are deported back to their home country. All are aware of how
slim their chances, as Germany accepts only about 25% of asylum
Without narration, the camera lingers to convey the
uneasy stasis their lives have now become during this long and uncertain
transitional period. During their three month wait in Germany, they are
transferred to other camps or centers. As one man puts it while
surveying his new location, “Is this our home or our new cage?”
Reviews and Festivals"This timely and insightful film accompanies four migrants from varying backgrounds on their way through a temporary registration center — a surreal place on the outskirts of nowhere. Their daily existence of uneasy boredom in a transitional home provides rare insight into the black box of asylum law and into a particular moment in Europe. More universally, it reveals the bureaucratic mechanisms that stand in contrast to the hopes of people around the world trying to make a better life.”
– Margaret Mead Film Festival
"A first-hand account of the tried and tired process of granting asylum. Given no music, special effects, or voice-overs in the film, the viewer is allowed to feel the raw silence of reality as those who arrive at the center are processed and held until the verdict is made.”
– The Mass Media, University of Massachusetts Boston
"Told without narration, the movie presents an uncensored view of strangers making their way in a strange new world, one that holds promise but no guarantees. An intriguing look at a little-seen existence and the array of emotions it evokes among those who try to make their way to a new life."
“The audience learns a lot from his careful ethnographic portrait of four young men from the Middle East and Africa and of the German officials they report to. Coming from different countries and cultures with no linguistic skills they face a mostly sympathetic bureaucracy bound by rigid rules, which remain a mystery to the refugees.”
“Recommended. Offers an interesting look at how one country carefully manages to maintain a fair immigration policy. The men are treated well and are provided with attorneys and translators to help facilitate — but each application undergoes an incredibly detailed and time-consuming investigation."
– Video Librarian
Winner, Civil Award, Nonfiktionale, Germany
Margaret Mead Film Festival, New York
Max Ophüls Preis, Germany
Sicily Ambiente Film Festival, Italy
Visions du Reel, Nyon, Switzerland
University of Massachusetts Film Series, Boston
Cinema Excentris, Canada
Lichter International Filmfest, Germany
Dokka Karlsruhe Germany
Dokfilmwoche FSK, Germany
Globale Hessen, Germany