The premiere of a Swiss-German documentary shot in the American desert, ’Above&Below’, attracted much public attention. Now the hype was not just about the Hivos Tiger Awards Competition or the IFFR director personally introducing the film. After the movie, the public was so eager to find out more that the Q&A threatened the next screening.

What do NASA astronauts training to go on a Mars mission, tramps in the underground tunnels of Las Vegas and a solitary former military doctor-turned-hermit have in common? From trivial trash digging in the search for food to grand aspirations of colonizing the red planet – in this movie, people are fervently trying to find the meaning of it all, while struggling to live through the day ahead. The ‘above’ and the ‘below’ come together in the present to tell almost a Bible-like story, which aptly ends with a flood. 

‘Some scripted episodes’

The seemingly scattered pieces fit so well that soon you are under the spell and forget that this is, after all, a documentary. ‘’Have you seduced your characters?’’, the audience regains its critical faculties once the lights are on. Public is wondering how many scenes were staged and rehearsed. ‘’Seduced?!’’, Nicolas Steiner almost winces with pain. To be as honest as possible, the director took a whole year to research before the shooting and hand-picked the heroes out of the crowd he met on the way. In the end, though, he admits that there were some scripted episodes. But the final flooding was real.

Breathtaking journey

Of course. Whatever the case maybe, the camera work, the scenery and the incredible exclusively composed scores are well worth investing two hours of your time to take a breathtaking journey into the American Neverland. Still craving for reality afterwards? You can always look up and befriend the characters on Facebook. KS

Now the movie is in the top 10 audience awards and the upcoming screenings are almost sold out. Hurry up to get your tickets.