44th edition 21 January - 1 February 2015

5 Jahre LebenBF-2013 
5 Years

Kurnaz is German, and was arrested in Pakistan in 2001. He was handed over to the US authorities then detained at Guantánamo for over five years. Despite unimaginable torture, Kurnaz never gave up his innocence. Based on a true story.

Turkish-German Murat Kurnaz was held from 2001 to 2006 in American detention camps in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay. He was 19 when, as a fresh convert to Islam, he was on a pilgrimage to Pakistan and was promptly arrested on suspicion of terrorism. 5 Years is based on true events and tells his story: how he was tortured and interrogated continuously and mercilessly at Guantánamo Bay.
The film concentrates on the harsh struggle between Kurnaz and his American interrogator, Gail Holford, who tries to win his trust in order to get him to confess, while the physical and psychological torture goes on. It cost Kurnaz enormous willpower to maintain his innocence under this pressure.
Stefan Schaller chooses to seldom show the violence explicitly. He lets the imagination of the viewer do the work, which makes the horror of Kurnaz's detention even more insistent.

Comments
Indrukwekkende film! 4/5.
Webreview from Marco Vink / @FromRotterdam on 31 January 2013 18:29
En ineens stond Murat daar echt op het podium. Na een intense ervaring van 1,5. Tot nu toe de beste film die we dit jaar op het festival gezien hebben. De synopsis van de film zegt voldoende waar het over gaat, dus ga gewoon kijken. Briljant 5 sterren
Webreview from Vibes on 27 January 2013 10:46
I booked tickets for this film due to the fact that the theme intrigued me foremost, and also that we were advised that no real torture would be shown (I hate torture porn movies). I always wondered how I would behave in similar circumstances, regardless of being innocent (like here) or not so innocent.
It's a depressing concept to loose many years of your life for no reason. The film title told us upfront that his whole imprisonment added up to 5 years. The prisoner learned that fact only afterwards. For us viewers it was not obvious from the proceedings that it was that long. I can imagine that it is difficult to get the timing aspect across. Stretching the scenes is no solution, and I think that the current film length of 90 minutes cannot be extended much longer. The point is being made very well, and nothing more can be added to elaborate on the issue.
Particularly being alone all that time with no one to help you, is another aspect that would haunt me. And I can imagine that you cling to any friendly gesture, be it a “good cop”, a friendly guard, or an unusual pet like the iguana that found its way into his cell. The treatment by prison staff is harsh and you feel yourself completely exposed to their whims as well as an arbitrary set of rules. The best example of the latter was “no pets allowed” and hence the order to kill the iguana. The repercussions when he refused were severe.
This screening was the world premiere, and a considerable part of the cast was present. The main character was even present in duplicate, one in the form of the real Murat and one as the actor we saw on screen. The former (real) Murat is still involved in human rights issues within various organizations busy with torture etcetera. During the final Q&A there was a question from the audience how he could have survived that long. He replied that his religion was most important for him, and secondly that he was a young man who wanted to see his family again. He also added that the film showed only a single interrogator, but in reality it were more than a hundred different ones.
I don't think this film will attract a large audience, though being dramatized and well constructed to maintain our attention span for the whole length. The fact that the story is confined to one single interrogator, though not fully reflecting reality, is an aspect that elevates this film above the dry and factual documentary. It is brought to us as a cat-and-mouse game between two opposing characters, and I consider to be this a perfect choice made by the filmmakers.
Webreview from JvH48 on 26 January 2013 10:41
Germany 2013
DirectorStefan Schaller
ProducerJochen Laube
 Fabian Maubach
 teamWorx Television & Film GmbH Ludwigsburg
SalesGlobal Screen GmbH
ScenarioStefan Schaller
CastSascha A. Gersak
 Ben Miles
PhotographyArmin Franzen
EditorSimon Blasi
Production designJulian Wagner
MusicEnik
Length95'
Film formatDCP
Themes
2013 Bright Future International premiere



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