(85 min., Germany, 2016)
(85 min., Germany, 2016)
(85 min., Germany, 2016)
The feature-length documentary film DEPORTATION CLASS portrays a comprehensive picture of deportations in Germany for the first time: from the detailed planning to execute a collective deportation order and on to the large-scale nighttime enforcement operation in the asylum seekers’ accommodations, all the way to their arrival in their homeland and the question of what awaits them there.
Following months of preparation, the Grimme Prize winners Hauke Wendler and Carsten Rau – who had already produced the multiple award-winning documentary film WADIM (2011) about this subject – had the opportunity to film a collective deportation in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. 200 asylum seekers were flown out to Albania thereby: moving, at times harrowing scenes that had never been seen before like this in Germany.
Filmed to a certain extent parallel using three camera teams, DEPORTATION CLASS charts not only a precise, matter-of-fact picture of these coercive measures on the part of the government. The film equally gives a face, a voice and, accordingly, their dignity back to those who don’t get to speak in the news: people like Gezim, who had hoped for a better future for his children in Germany. Or Elidor and Angjela’s family, who were forced to flee from a vendetta and plunge into free fall in Albania following deportation.
Screenplay/Directors: Carsten Rau and Hauke Wendler
Camera: Boris Mahlau
Editor: Sigrid Sveistrup
Music: Sabine Worthmann
Commissioning Editor: Barbara Denz (NDR)
Executive Producers: Carsten Rau and Hauke Wendler
Production: PIER 53 Filmproduktion
DOK.fest Munich, Germany
Astra Film Festival, Romania
CinéDOC Tbilisi, Georgia
Kasseler Dokfest, Germany
Dokfilmwoche Hamburg, Germany
Nordische Filmtage, Lübeck, Germany
Neiße Filmfestival, Germany
Filmfest Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Filmfest Wismar, Germany
Krass Kultur Crash Festival, Hamburg, Germany
Neue Heimat Filmfestival, Breest, Germany
Crossroads Filmfestival, Vienna, Austria
“DEPORTATION CLASS is undoubtedly something like the cinematic standard reference on the subject of asylum in Germany. In its straightforward, reportage-like expression, a clear-cut statement against the bureaucratic madness lying behind it.”
(Johannes Bluth, Spiegel Online)
“This documentary film by Carsten Rau and Hauke Wendler lends stories and faces to deportation. (…) A harrowing look into the bottomless pits between bureaucracy, desperation, legislation and dreams.”
(Annett Scheffel, Süddeutsche Zeitung)
“Carsten Rau and Hauke Wendler tell the stories of Gezim and Elidor, of Medina and Angjela so extensively that people become identifiable who are being subjected to violence all because of the rules involved. It is the brute force of a state that must insist on its monopolies, a force not to be ascribed to individuals yet nonetheless perceived as such. (…) One of the most important of these rules is the discontinuation of case-by-case assessment for people from safe countries of origin. Rau and Wendler make up for this case-by-case assessment as applied to selected human beings, the protagonists in their film.”
(Bert Rebhandl, FAZ)
“An evocative document.”
(Sascha Zien, presenter, WDR broadcasting network)
“What has arisen is a highly reflective, exceptionally up-to-date film to debate over: one that readily numbers among the most important in the current vintage of documentary films. It is virtually a compulsory (civic) duty to view the film.”
(Simon Hauck, kino-zeit.de)
“A man stands in his underwear in his apartment at night. Speechless, he sees that the hallway is full of policemen. One of them explains to him that in a few minutes he and his family are going to be freighted onto a bus and brought to an airplane that is going to fly him back to his native country, Albania. This scene reflecting absolute impotence is hard to bear and poses the question of whether or not it’s indecent to even show it. The only way to justify it is when the story is also told from the perspective of this man and his family. And that’s precisely what filmmakers Carsten Rau and Hauke Wendler accomplish in their documentary entitled DEPORTATION CLASS.”
(Wilfried Hippen, taz)
“The film by Carsten Rau and Hauke Wendler is a radically alternative draft to exactly this kind of dehumanization. In the end, the family faced with the danger of a vendetta, now forcefully repatriated in Albania, with its suitcases on the street. (…) In light of this agonizing closing scene to the film, this is where the criticism of German policy regarding asylum and its practice of deporting people gets its formidable humanistic weight.”
(Hartwig Tegeler, Deutschlandfunk)
“Director Hauke Wendler says that Gezim J. grasped the film as a chance for the general public to become aware of the kinds of conditions under which Germany deports people. After DEPORTATION CLASS, it’s likely that it won’t be possible to film something like this anymore. In this respect the film is an important contemporary historical document.”
(René Martens, konkret)
“The film’s major strength is that it juxtaposes the different voices in a relatively matter-of-fact manner and limits itself to recording the sequence of events. Even though the filmmakers’ stance is clear, by no means does the film end up as slanted. (…) DEPORTATION CLASS is a well-founded, convincing, important, equally unemotional and upsetting critique of the system.”
(Julia Teichmann, Filmdienst)
“This film is heartrending (…) What makes the film so sad and appalling has less to do with the people’s stories: it’s the way the government authorities deal with them and the clear awareness that something has to change here. Urgently. And that includes informing as many people as possible as to the deportation practices involved.”
(Gaby Sikorski, Programmkino.de)
“Shocking and disturbing scenes.”
“Behind all the numbers for asylum applicants, suddenly the human beings and their fates become visible again.”
(Bayrischer Rundfunk broadcasting network, TV)
How did the idea for DEPORTATION CLASS originate?
Hauke Wendler: We wrapped up our feature-length documentary WADIM in 2011, a film that equally concerned itself with the deportation issue. The shooting proved to be pretty hard on everyone involved because Wadim committed suicide 5 years after he was deported. To be honest, after that we’d had our fill of the subject. Then we followed up by producing “WILLKOMMEN AUF DEUTSCH” and “ALLES GUT”, two more feature-length films that dealt with fleeing and migration, and we discontinued the research on deportations. But in the spring of 2016 the issue was suddenly very present again.
You had the opportunity to film a collective deportation in Germany for the first time. How did you manage to obtain a filming permit to shoot?
Carsten Rau: Why the Ministry of the Interior in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ultimately allowed this story to be filmed, to this day all we can do is speculate about it. But state parliament elections were pending in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern at the time and the projections for the right-wing “AfD” party gave it roughly 20 percent. That’s why we presume that Lorenz Caffier, the minister of the interior from the “CDU” party, wanted to demonstrate in public via this collective deportation that he was enforcing “a hard line.” And a nice TV feature about a resolute minister could’ve naturally been useful to achieve that. But, like I said: all you can do is speculate about it.
The German federal government is calling for a stricter, more consistent deportation policy and in the course of the last year made reference to the point that allegedly 500,000 rejected applicants for asylum live in Germany who are obliged to leave the country. The organization Pro Asyl recently calculated completely different figures. In the end it was clear that there are merely just 30,000 rejected applicants for asylum who are currently obliged to leave the country. What’s your opinion on that?
Hauke Wendler: The issue of deportation is being used to shape politics in a very cheap and populistic way just to win votes, especially in an election year like this one. And, in our opinion, that’s precisely the point when the center of society has to ask itself if it wants to take that in stride. That election campaigning is being done at the expense of people who are in a completely helpless situation with no way out. Or are we going to say: Hold on, stop, this issue rules out any form of populism even more than with other issues.
What’s more, there would certainly be other ways to get talks going with applicants for asylum who actually don’t have any perspective awaiting them in Germany, for instance via a so-called “funded departure.” The state of Rhineland-Palatinate has been demonstrating this to us for years now; by the way, even while reducing costs. But everything the federal government has just presented in this area is half-hearted.
In the film it becomes clear that, although the collective deportation had been planned long beforehand, there wasn’t even an interpreter on hand. Was that accidental or is that the general case?
Hauke Wendler: The way we heard it from the officers during the operation, it’s generally the case. And as early as the point when we started shooting I already felt this was downright negligent. In the middle of the night a family is separated because the 12-year-old daughter is momentarily on a class trip. And no one gave any thought that you’d have to explain to the parents why they’re being separated and who is headed where? I think that’s irresponsible.
Does the film’s title, DEPORTATION CLASS, have any relation to the campaign from “Kein Mensch ist illegal” (‛No human being is illegal’) bearing the same name?
Hauke Wendler: We’re not any kind of political activists and we don’t represent the interests of “Kein Mensch ist illegal” or any other political groups, either. But in our opinion the title DEPORTATION CLASS very accurately describes the human beings who are deposited on planes and deported week by week. All of us fly Business Class or Economy. The fact that in Germany refugees are being flown out each week in the course of a state sanction and, above all, precisely the way this is done is something most German citizens know little about.
PIER 53 Filmproduktion
in co-production with
A film by
Carsten Rau und Hauke Wendler
Director of Photography
Ramón León Kettner
Assistant Film Editor
Sounddesign and Mixing
Yannick Rehder, Tonik Studio
Heckmann und Thiele
Kristina Madejczyk (NDR)
Tim Carlberg (NDR)
Barbara Denz (NDR)
Carsten Rau und Hauke Wendler