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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.
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
Runtime 150 min
Format 35 mm, color
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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