Special Flight (Vol spécial; 2011, Fernand Melgar, Switzerland). Documentary. 1h 43min
Presented by the Center for Film & Media Studies at the University of Cincinnati.
Switzerland is strict about granting asylum to foreigners: Less than 12 percent of applicants are accepted. Special Flight tells the story of the rest, who are swept into one of the country’s 28 detention centers. Frambois, established in 2004, has been criticized for its high cost and relative comfort, yet its deportation rate, 86 percent, is the highest in the country. Many of the undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers detained there have lived in Switzerland for years–20 years in the case of Ragip, a Kosovar man featured in the film–and have jobs and families. They may be locked up for as long as 18 months before being deported.
Fernand Melgar is a self-trained activist filmmaker and producer based in Switzerland. He came to Switzerland from Spain as a young child. His 2008 docmentary The Fortress won a Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival
Some We Kept, Some We Threw Back (2010, Minna Rainio & Mark Roberts, Finland). Documentary. 7 minutes.
Some we kept, some we threw back draws a parallel between the migration of Finns to Minnesota in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the migration today of people from war-torn and famine-struck nations to the West. The film depicts a man in contemporary times, making preparations for a sauna in the backwoods of Northern Minnesota. As he carries out his mundane tasks — chopping wood, pumping water, lighting the sauna fire — a woman narrates a series of experiences dating from her childhood when she and her parents left Finland to start a new life in America.Through its use of a dramatized narrative, the film draws clear parallels between the experiences of immigrants and refugees arriving from Europe in the past with those traveling from further afield today.