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FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE FEATURE NARRATIVE

THE BOAT IS FULL

TFF 2003
FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE THE BOAT IS FULL [TFF 2003]

As World War II rages around them, five Jews and a German deserter try to escape Nazi Germany and elude deportation by fleeing to Switzerland. They take refuge with a rural innkeeper and her husband, but the Swiss couple's compassion and humanity soon give way to suspicion and fear of the strangers in their midst. They inform the authorities, and though they later come to regret their decision, tragic events have already been set in motion. The letter of the law must be carried out - the boat is full. Director Markus Imhoof's powerful drama touched a raw nerve when it was released in 1980. The question of Swiss complicity in the Holocaust was considered a taboo subject, and though the surrounding controversy did not affect the film's critical or commercial success -- The Boat Is Full was an art house hit and earned an Oscar® nomination for Best Foreign Language Film -- it did force Imhoof, ironically, to look to Germany and Austria for financial backing for his future projects. The passage of time has not dulled the impact of this haunting, deeply moral film. In fact, interest in it has only intensified, as a series of lawsuits against Swiss banks for their alleged misappropriation of the assets of murdered Jews has re-opened the issue of Switzerland's wartime behavior. For years, there was no suitable print available, until seven labs took three years to create this sublime digitally restored version. Now the world can experience Imhoof's masterwork anew.

As World War II rages around them, five Jews and a German deserter try to escape Nazi Germany and elude deportation by fleeing to Switzerland. They take refuge with a rural innkeeper and her husband, but the Swiss couple's compassion and humanity soon give way to suspicion and fear of the strangers in their midst. They inform the authorities, and though they later come to regret their decision, tragic events have already been set in motion. The letter of the law must be carried out - the boat is full. Director Markus Imhoof's powerful drama touched a raw nerve when it was released in 1980. The question of Swiss complicity in the Holocaust was considered a taboo subject, and though the surrounding controversy did not affect the film's critical or commercial success -- The Boat Is Full was an art house hit and earned an Oscar® nomination for Best Foreign Language Film -- it did force Imhoof, ironically, to look to Germany and Austria for financial backing for his future projects. The passage of time has not dulled the impact of this haunting, deeply moral film. In fact, interest in it has only intensified, as a series of lawsuits against Swiss banks for their alleged misappropriation of the assets of murdered Jews has re-opened the issue of Switzerland's wartime behavior. For years, there was no suitable print available, until seven labs took three years to create this sublime digitally restored version. Now the world can experience Imhoof's masterwork anew.

Film Information
Year: 1980
Length: 104 minutes
Language: German
Country: Switzerland
Premiere: Unknown
About the Director(s)

Born in Winterthur, in 1941, Markus Imhoof studied German language and literature, art history, and history in Zurich. He subsequently worked at the Zurich Schauspielhaus theater as Leopold Lindtberg's assistant. Imhoof took film courses at Zurich Arts and Crafts College in 1967 and founded the production company Limbo Film AG in 1977. In 1981 he received a Silver Berlin Bear for his third film, The Boat is Full. Imhoof has directed countless plays and operas, in addition to his films and documentaries, which include Fire in Paradise and Das Blaue vom Himmel . He was a member of the Swiss Film Commission (1969-1977), a host lecturer at the Film School Milano, The Film Academy Berlin, and the Film University Zurich. Imhoof is also a member of the Art Academy in Berlin and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

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