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16 days to watch
3.9
193 Ratings

Central Airport THF

Zentralflughafen THF

Directed by Karim Aïnouz
Germany, France, 2018
Documentary
  • Arabic
  • Danish, Dutch, English, French, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish

Synopsis

Berlin’s historic defunct Tempelhof Airport remains a place of arrivals and departures. Today its massive hangars are used as Germany’s largest emergency shelter for asylum seekers, like 18-year-old Syrian refugee Ibrahim, who awaits the answer of whether he will gain residency or be deported.

Our take

From its storied history glorified by the Nazis and enshrined for its role in the Berlin Airlift, Berlin’s Tempelhof is probably the world’s most famous airport. Karim Aïnouz’s striking documentary explores the essential role it has today, housing refugees in its astounding, repurposed architecture.

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It is an observational piece that reads like a two-part tribute: a testament to the singular beauty of a long-destitute place, and to the people who’ve unwillingly come to call it home.
February 08, 2019
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The focus of Zentralflughafen THF is only inwardly political and remains strictly visual on the outside (the director is a visual artist, whatever that means). Through sharp, analytical observation the director captures the schizophrenic violence of European democracy with beautifully framed images that never feel gratuitous.
May 11, 2018
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The film’s use of wide-screen space and attention to the power of architecture—cavernous, majestic hangars, often framed in extreme long-shots—counterpoint its humane focus on the migrants’ day-to-day experience. It creates an immersive sense of a place that is—like every airport—no place.
April 24, 2018
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