written on 26/09/2020
by Michael Lutz

Gripping and inspiring true story of how two ordinary families tried the most daring escape ever made across the East German border during the cold war, fighting for freedom with their courage and ingenuity.

Ballon (Balloon - Il vento della libertà) | 2018 | Thriller | 125  min | Italian, Italian subtitles (Amazon Prime), German (27/9/2020 at 20:15 on SAT.1)

In the summer of 1979, in Thüringen, in East Germany, two families put together a crazy plan. They are desperate to leave the GDR for the 'West' and plan to flee in a homemade hot air balloon. After sewing and tinkering for weeks, the amateurs make their first attempt.

Meters from the West German border, their balloon suffers from the rain and crash lands. Luckily, they manage to avoid being caught by the police. 

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 ensues.

While the authorities become aware that a second attempt is being planned, the would-be escapees, conscious of the search drawing ever nearer, need to build a more robust, weatherproof balloon - and avoid leaving too many clues.

The movie is available through Amazon Prime Video Italy.

Watch movie

It will also be shown on German tv (SAT.1) on 27 September at 20.15, followed by a documentary on the life of the two families in the west after the escape.

Click here for the details.

Don't miss our Interview with a contemporary witness on September 30th, 2020.