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Broadcasting date: 15-11-2004
Title : ONCE UPON A TIME, THERE WAS A WALL
Subject : BERLIN WALL

How can somebody explain to a child today, how and why a country and a city could be divided in two, divided by a wall that meny times even ran through a house?

 

On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, in November 1989, Reportage Without Frontiers presents some incredible but true stories. Stories that were written after the building of the Berlin wall, in 1961, and are narrated by their own protagonists. A woman crawling through graves in a graveyard in order to escape. A young man who illegally passes the wall so that he can visit his grandmother that lives on the west side of Berlin, but gets arrested and led to prison. A cameraman who films the grandest mass escape in the history of the wall, through a 100m long tunnel, that was being dug for months under the wall. A police officer - (terrorist) - who placed a bomb in the wall, creating an opening for just a few hours.

 

In a small town of the former East Germany, we came across the Strelzich family, whose adventure later became the story of a movie: Mr. Strelzich learned how to make aerostats by books. Assisted by his wife, who sewed large pieces of fabric together every night at their basement,  he built an aerostat by which the couple and their two children would try to escape. At the last moment, a sudden rain and the change of the winds landed the aerostat back in east Germany. the family managed to get back home, but the authorities had already picked up their trail. Now they would have to build a new aerostat and try to escape as soon as possible...

 

The documentary seems like a "fairy tale": archival, propagandist material from the former Republic of East Germany and "rebellious" songs intervene in the narration of the protagonists. The effort is to prove how insane and surreal dividing a city in half, just like Nicosia today, really can be.

 

 

 

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