Some films tell history; but there are a select few that actually make history. We are proud to bring back -- in a miraculously restored print -- Markus Imhoof’s landmark 1981 Swiss drama, The Boat is Full. This intimate, powerful, and ultimately devastating film dared to explode the myth of Switzerland’s neutrality toward Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, it has been nearly absent from American theaters
for two decades.
It is 1942. A ragtag group of Jewish refugees escaping from a German train stumbles upon a place of sanctuary and hope -- a farmhouse just across the Swiss border. Among them is a woman seeking to find her husband, an orphan, an old man, and a deserting German soldier -- all exiles, turning with hope of refuge to a hardened and fearful Swiss couple. Their desperate light, and the shifts of fate brought about by their hosts’ denunciation and sudden repentance, creates one of the most powerful and indelible depictions of the moral price of war.
Controversial in its home country from the outset, but ultimately recognized worldwide as a masterpiece of storytelling and ensemble acting, the film’s power derives from its tight focus on one small band of outcasts. The film has taken on renewed resonance amid recent allegations of Swiss banking and government complicity with Nazi Germany. But Imhoof’s beautifully controlled drama transcends contemporary debates to reveal a universal human struggle for rescue and redemption.
Markus Imhoof was born on the 19.09.1941 in Winterthur, Switzerland. Secondary school in Winterthur, studies in German, History of the Arts and History in Zurich, lic. phil. I. (licentiate about "Brecht’s plays in view of his theoretical works"). Assistant for Leopold Lindtberg in the Playhouse Zurich. 1967 and 1968 Filmschool at The School for Arts and Crafts Zurich with Kurt Früh. 1976 Foundation of the Limbo Film AG together with George Reinhard. 1996 Founding of the Markus Imhoof Film GmbH and the Fl.im.Pa. Filmproduktion AG, together with Pierre-Alain Meier and Thomas Koerfer of Frenetic Films AG. Host lecturer on the Film School Milano, the Film Academy Berlin and the Film University Zurich. Apart from his film work he is also a director of plays and operas. Married to the script writer and film director Judith Kennel: "Zornige Küsse" (Enraged Kisses) Lives in Berlin.