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In 1978 in East Germany two families, the Strelzyks and the Wetzels,make plans to escape the Communist East and flee to the West. Peter Strelzyk comes up with a daring idea to construct a homemade air balloon big enough to carry the two families across the East-West militarized border. The border between East and West Germany is heavily militarized, complete with watch towers, guard dogs, barbed-wire, alarms, sensors, search lights and patrols. Rumors have it that some areas of the militarized border are mined. The only chance of crossing the border is by air. The Strelzyks and the Wetzels commence their risky venture by purchasing lots of taffeta fabric and sewing it together with a sewing machine in the attic. Peter Strelzyk builds an experimental homemade hot air balloon burner. In 1979 when the balloon is ready Peter and his son test it but the Wetzel family becomes hesitant. The Strelzyks decide to go alone but bad weather causes the balloon to crash inside the Communist zone. ... Written by
The date of the night crossing was 15th September 1979. See more »
I know the S.S.D. was on its way. We still haven't got the material. Yesterday five yards, today nothing.
Could you make the balloon smaller?
Yes we could. But, it wouldn't carry eight people.
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Would we let this happen again? Would we sit by and let our own nations become like the DDR? I hope not, but in Canada, we are letting it happen in small ways. In spite of "freedom of speech", you can't speak against certain politically-favoured minorities, and people like Hans and Mrs. Roseler in the movie will blab on those of us who aren't "politically correct".
I find the movie gripping, suspenseful.
The cast list is missing one first name: Hans. They call their neighbourhood Stasi spy "Hans", but is that Ziegler or Schmolk? The other of them, presumably, is Major Koerner's assistant, the one talking with him at his office where they discuss the investigation. Try as I might, I cannot find a picture of either actor for these two roles.
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