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The Berlin Wall inspired some of the most daring escape attempts. This is the true story of one of them.
It is 1961, the same year that Communist East Germany begins construction on the Berlin Wall. East German Harry Melchior is already suffocating in the stench of oppression. He wants out, but his beloved sister Lotte fears that an escape attempt into West Berlin would be too dangerous for her young daughter. Harry reluctantly leaves Lotte behind, but swears that he will return to rescue her. Once safely in the West, Harry teams up with his best friend Matthis, an engineer, and they plan their nearly-impossible project. Nine harrowing months and 145 meters later, despite cave-ins, flooding and Stasi spies, the team breaks through the cellar of a building in East Berlin. Having defied the ever-present dangers of failure and death, Harry and his team now guide Lotte, as well as 28 others, into the freedom of the West.

Roland Suso Richter born in 1961, achieved his breakthrough with his first feature-length film for the cinema, Kolp (1983). Following its screening at Cannes, the film was invited to numerous international film festivals, was nominated for the German Film Award and the Bavarian Film Award, and went on to win the 1986 Youth Video Prize. Sven's Secret (1994) received countless awards including the 1996 Erich Kaestner Prize and the Rocky Award at the Banff Television Festival. Richter enjoyed further cinema success with 14 Days to Life (14 Tage Lebenslaenglich, 1997). In 1997, he directed the TV thriller Buddies. For his outstanding work as director on The Bubi Scholz Story (TV, 1998), he received the Bavarian Television Award. His other films include: After The Truth (Nichts als die Wahrheit, 1999), which was shown in competition at San Sebastian in 1999, as well as A Hand Full of Grass (Eine Hand voll Gras, 2000) and The Tunnel (2001), both of which screened in competition at Montreal.
Category Feature
Director Roland Suso Richter
Screenplay Johannes W. Betz
Cinematography Martin Langer
Eva Schnare
Harald Kloser
Cast Alexandra Maria Lara, Felix Eitner, Mehmet Kurtulus, Sebastian Koch, Uwe Kockisch, Nicolette Krebitz, Heino Ferch, Claudia Michelsen
Producers Ariane Krampe, Nico Hofmann
Production Company teamWorx/Munich
Length 150 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
Subtitled Versions English, French
Sound Technology Stereo
Festivals St. Louis 2001, Washington DC 2002, Arras 2016
Awards Audience Choice Award, Best Feature Film and Best Foreign Film St. Louis, Audience Award Washington DC
German Distributor Basis-Film Verleih/Berlin

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