Central Airport THF (2017)

Karim Aïnouz achieves the perfect balance between people and locale in Central Airport THF, a rare observational documentary that recognizes the beauty of spatial forms without forgetting the individuals who inhabit those voids. Struck by the irony that Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport, a place of transit amplified by Nazi dreams of grandeur, is now used as a refugee center, the Berlin-based director combines his superb compositional eye with an empathetic glimpse of the lives of a few people living and working in the center. […] Aïnouz ensures that the men and women who appear on-screen have a humanity to counter the numbing statistics invariably accompanying discussions of refugees.

Aïnouz wisely focuses on just a few people in the center, so apart from overhead shots of the rows upon rows of white cubicle-like living spaces set up in the different hangars that give a vague notion of just how many people reside there (upwards of 3,000), the director avoids the kind of anonymous mass that neuters individuality. […] Home remains home, and while the documentary makes certain the audience sees individuals and not statistics, the trauma doesn’t fade away. Rather, it seems as enduring as Tempelhof airport itself.

Jay Weissberg, Variety

  • Orig. title: Zentralflughafen THF
  • Language: Arabic, English, German, Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Distribution: Luxbox
  • Cinematography: Juan Sarmiento
  • Editing: Felix von Boehm

Collaboration