Die Letzten Tage | The Last Days | Les Derniers Jours
(2019; Colour; Video; 81min)
In German and English (screening versions with English, German, or French subtitles)
A documentary about the last days of an emergency refugee center in a small town in Germany, The Last Days 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 world.
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 their memories and stories of fleeting moments spent with the refugees.
At one level, The Last Days is a documentary with absurdist overtones. At another level, it is a poignant reminder of a remarkable moment when open borders and new beginnings seemed a real possibility.
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