Keswick Film Club - Balloon

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Sunday 29th September 5:00 PM

Balloon (Ballon)

Director: Michael Herbig Country: Germany
Cert: 12A Year: 2018 Length: 125 mins Language: German

Programme Notes

Cinema Handout (PDF 108KB)

Audience Reaction

Score: 81.99% Attendance: 142



  • More details on this film at the Internet Movie Database


Members' Choice

Buckle up and prepare for adventure! The first of this season's films chosen by Members' ballot, this one should keep everyone on the edge of their seats...

As the title suggests, the film is about a balloon journey, but this one follows two families trying to go from East Germany to West Germany in 1979... if they get it wrong, they risk imprisonment or even death.

Based on a true story, we follow the Wetzel family; inspired by a magazine article from New Mexico, they set about gathering up the materials (including one thousand square metres of cloth!) and building their balloon with their friends the Strelzyks, all in total secrecy from the Stasi and potential informants. They spent eighteen months preparing, watching weather forecasts and waiting for the ideal night with a strong Northerly wind to make the attempt; but the Stasi were on their trail...

Made in 2018, the release coincided with the 28th anniversary of reunification and has caused some controversy.

"'In the year 2018, when many people are bickering over freedom, democracy and fractious GDR biographies, the cold war in which the balloon escape takes place seems very distant', von Uslar wrote [in Die Zeit]. 'The land of desire, West Germany, for which thousands of refugees risked their lives between 1961 and 1989 no longer exists'" - Kate Connelly, Observer. This hasn't stopped German audiences flocking to see the film, and visiting Pößneck, the village where the balloon was built. We might not get to Pößneck, but we can share in the adventure here in Keswick...


open_quote A cosy-looking period story that is both funny and thrilling close_quote Karen Krizanovich, Radio Times

open_quote It is an engrossing mixture of adventure yarn and methodical police procedural that generates moments of pulse-racing tension close_quote Allan Hunter, The List



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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

Since then, the club has won Film Society Of The Year and awards for Best Programme four times and Best Website twice.

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