Brazilian film at Berlin Festival shows refugee life at historic airport

Berlin Festival shows

Karim Aïnouz’s ‘Central Airport’ portrays routine German airport transformed into shelter. “There was a contrast there that I found to be important to document,” says filmmaker.

By 2015, when Germany was in chaos for opening its doors to one million refugees, Berlin adapted an unused airport to house them.

The move created a makeshift village, a setting for the documentary “Central Airport,” by Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz, who will premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival.

In the show, which began on Thursday (15), the filmmaker said that the idea of ​​production is to show the lives of the refugees through a more personal view than was normal until then.


Built with forced labor under the orders of Albert Speer, architect of Adolf Hitler, Tempelhof Airport is a mirror of the city’s history and served as a lifeline for West Berlin during the Soviet blockade of 1948.

The venue was closed in 2008, and its lanes were transformed into a garden the size of New York’s Central Park, for a metropolis today united.

By 2015, its hangars, the movie’s main setting, became an emergency shelter for more than 2,000 of the estimated one million people who arrived in the country, fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East and Africa.

The film documents the lives of new airport residents, paralleling the lives of Berliners in the vast adjacent park, contrasting refugees with young people, walkers and families picnicking.


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