La forteresse scoops honours at Florence and Montreal

Article published on Nov. 26, 2008
community published
Article published on Nov. 26, 2008
Fernand Melgar’s La Forteresse (“The Fortress”) has so far garnered almost 20,000 admissions in French-speaking Switzerland, where it was released in September. This amounts to a record performance for this film which centres on asylum seekers who flock to the gates of Europe, where they are welcomed more or less graciously.

Critic Antoine Duplan (L’Hebdo) commented on the film: “La Forteresse is not just a poignant testimony: it’s a true work of art. The humanity of its subject matter is combined with high quality images”.

He continued: “Nothing could be more sinister than the Vallorbe centre, and yet the camera manages to capture the faintest light and the vibrations of the steel and concrete. A deeply moving film, La Forteresse honourably reveals the humanity of the civil servants and asylum seekers”.

It is therefore not surprising that La Forteresse has received numerous prizes. After picking up honours at Locarno and Tehran, the film recently scooped the Audience Award at the 49th Popoli Film Festival in Florence (November 14-21) and the Grand Prize at the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival (November 13-23).

Melgar’s film continues to do the rounds of international festivals and is set to screen at Seville, Bucharest, Gigon (Spain) and Warsaw.

Françoise Deriaz