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While awaiting deportation from Switzerland, men are held in jail. Although their incarceration may last up to 24 months, deportation can be announced without warning and its enforcement is immediate. Behind the closed prison doors, tensions build day by day, as captured by a film crew with unprecidented access to a detention centre for illegal migrants. The wardens are charged with the responsibility of presiding over immigrants at the end of their journeys, defeated by fear and stress.
"Worlds collide with the utmost courtesy in “Special Flight,” a somber and beautifully modulated documentary"
The New York Times
"A heart-wrenching exposé of the contradictions between the country’s compassionate social policies and the intractability of its immigration laws."
Tambay A. Obenson
"The docu's subject get under the skin, and their plight represents one of the major challenges to immigration policy not just in Switzerland, but in the First World as a whole."
"Melgar's cinema is non-judgemental. It does not separate the Good from the Bad; it captures life in all its contradictory drives, makes room for humor at the core of despair, reveals the truth in all its complexity, avoids the trap of prejudice, lends a face to the socially excluded, hits just where democracy hurts, [and] trusts the intelligence of its viewers. His is a socially engaged but nonetheless objective cinema."
"The film director enables us to hear the diversity of voices that, because of the categories into which they generally fall – undocumented immigrants, the socially excluded or others still – generally remain unheard, attesting to his discerning grasp of social issues."
Le Monde Diplomatique
"Thanks to the honesty and clarity of the stated facts, this film avoids all demagoguery in its revelation ofthe humanly revolting conditions surrounding the special flights. The individual destinies that Fernand Melgar handles are endowed witha rare emotional intensity and,formally, the resulting film does full honor to the cinema of the real."
Festival & Awards
San Sebastian Human Rights Film Festival
Amnesty International Award
Prix de Soleure
Festival des Libertés
Mention spéciale du Jury, Mention spéciale des droits de l'homme
Festival del film Locarno
Premier Prix du Jury des Jeunes, Prix du Jury Oecuménique
Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie
Grand Prix du meilleur documentaire
Watch Docs Human Rights International Film Festival
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
enter for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award