DCA Archive

Balloon - School Screening


1979, East Germany during the height of the Cold War. Two ordinary families, the Strelzyks and Wetzels, after years of yearning for freedom and a better life for their children, come up with an incredible – and very risky – escape plan to get across to the West. Using small pieces of fabric laboriously stitched together in their attic, they will build a hot air balloon to carry them over the heavily guarded East/West border and across to a new life. When a catastrophic setback seems to crush their dreams they have to decide how to proceed – to accept their situation and stay in the East, or start again entirely from scratch. Embarking on a second attempt faces not only the previous dangers, but an entirely new ‘cat and mouse’ element as a race against the clock kicks in with The Ministry for State Security (the notorious Stasi secret police) now hot on their heels...

There were many attempts to escape from East Germany into the perceived haven of the West. The film informs us that between 1976 and 1988 some 38,000 tried and failed to cross the militarised border, with 462 lives lost in the attempt. This one, very particular story, featuring a hot air balloon as a means of escape has been told on several occasions before – including by Walt Disney in the early 1980s – but this latest version fully captures the determination and resilience of the would-be refugees, who are willing to risk absolutely everything in their search for a better place to live. It’s a thrilling story, excitingly told – and for an audience who maybe don’t know the outcome, it remains a very tense experience.

Dir: Michael Bully Herbig
Germany 2018 / 2h5m / BBFC 12A
German with English subtitles

We are open for school bookings from 11:00 on Thu 22 August until Fri 1 November (with priority booking at our Teachers Preview).

Please book early as many films sell out. To be certain of our assistance with your travel arrangements please book before Wed 25 September.

To book, please call DCA Box Office on 01382 432 444.