Run time: 125 mins

You could probably choose a less conspicuous method of getting over the wall than floating across the border in what looks like a giant glowing lightbulb.

Yet a spectacular nocturnal breakout from communist East Germany by hot-air balloon is exactly what two families did on one chilly night in September, 1979.

Director Michael Bully Herbig tells the true story of the Strelzyks and the Wetzels, who built their balloon in a cellar. After sewing and tinkering for weeks, they make their first attempt. A few feet from West German freedom, their balloon suffers from the rain and crash lands. Luckily, they manage to avoid being caught by the nazi Stasi. However, the wreckage from their escape attempt is found and that triggers a desperate manhunt. The tension rises as the families determine to try again, and a race against time begins.

Besides being a fine thriller, Balloon also shows very well the effects authoritarian societies have on its people. It’s further proof that Herbig is one of the best directors his Country has to offer. (research Jack Whiting) I remember my own family’s joy at the international news of this fantastical escape. Miss everything else, but not this.

Tuesday 28th May
07:30 pm
Friday 31st May
02:00 pm