Die letzten Tage (The Last Days)
(2018; Colour; Video; 81min)
- in German and English, with English Subtitles
A documentary about the last days
of an emergency refugee center in a small town in Germany.
Moving beyond the dramatic and sensational stock images of the
European refugee crisis--refugee masses huddled on European
shores; angry populists marching on the streets--this is a quiet
film about some of the ordinary, and fragile acts and experiences
that create refuge.
In 2015-16, close to a million refugees
entered Germany following Chancellor Angela Merkel's dramatic
announcement 'Wir schaffen das' (We can do it!), that
enabled an "open border" policy and Wilkommenskultur
towards refugees fleeing wars in Syria and other parts of the
In small towns like St. Andreasberg,
populations doubled overnight as emergency refugee centers were
opened to accommodate the endless stream of refugees.
But when we began filming at the
ASB (Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund) St. Andreasberg refugee center
in the summer of 2016, the moment of refugee arrival with all
its uncertainty, panic, and expectation had passed.
The Last Days is a
film about an interminable wait for the eventual closure of
the center. As ASB workers learn to pack and dismantle furniture,
and trucks for "Catastrophe Management" carry away
unused goods, eight German social workers share with us their
memories and stories of fleeting moments spent with the refugees.
Filmed and edited using long takes
of empty space, (interspersed with fast cut photo montages of
time spent with refugees), Die Letzten Tage is
a documentary with absurdist overtones -- a poignant reminder
of a remarkable moment when open borders and new beginnings
seemed a real possibility.
Produced and Directed by Lalit Vachani
Camera and Co-direction: Olli Becker
Editing and Script: Lalit Vachani
Post-Production Audio/Sound Mix: Jochen Jezussek
Color Grading/Post-production Video: Stefan Engelkamp
Additional Camera: Lalit Vachani
Additional Editing: Olli Becker
Translations: Laila Friese, Olli Becker
Co-produced by CeMIS - the Centre for Modern Indian Studies
at the University of Göttingen, Germany
A Lalit Vachani/Wide Eye Film, 2018