Switzerland has just passed the most restrictive asylum law in all of Europe. This documentary film respectfully directs our attention to a reception centre for asylum-seekers. At this austere transit facility, 200 men, women and children wait after a journey.
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This film is great. Subtle. Powerful. It's as if a Sebastian Salgado photograph came to life on the screen. My heart is breaking for these people all over the world. I wish Switzerland would have taken more.
Plus que jamais d’actualité, ce reportage poignant montre que les migrants, surtout les demandeurs d’asile, ne sont pas des profiteurs, mais bien des êtres humains en souffrance. De manière schizophrène, on les aide comme on peut tout en s’en méfiant. La Suisse semble mieux les accueillir que la France. N’oublions pas la chance que nous avons de vivre en Europe, et qu’un jour ce seront peut-être nous les réfugiés...
"The Fortress"... the title suggests different message. I was expecting something one-sided. Oh, how inhuman Switzerland is! Oh, do you remember WW2!
But actually, it isn't. I've found it very ambiguous. The story of boy fleeing from Africa (let me skip details) was too terrifying to be true, but on the other hand suddenly-paralyzed-gypsy gets accepted.
A small frontier outpost of Switzerland, resting along a rural border with France, is caught within the swirling eddy of globalization. A space where national tragedies -- of war, of ethnic conflict, of economic insecurity -- are reflected, case-by-case, in the lives of the individuals, children and parents, alcoholics and students, who pass through the gates of Fort Europe. A tender and often brutal portrait.
It would have been easy for this to be a bleeding heart pro refugee film but I appreciate the more neutral approach. A balance is found whereby we hear sad stories that evoke pity but also see plenty of combative behavior and lying to the case workers. Overall a little too aimless for my taste, but still one of the better narrator-less documentaries I've seen.