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Journey to the Safest Place on Earth

2013 DOK Leipzig, International Programme Documentary Film, Filmpreis "Leipziger Ring", DOK im Knast
Switzerland | 2013 | 100 min. | English, German | German subtitles
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Journey to the Safest Place on Earth | Die Reise zum sichersten Ort der Erde

Whereas Edgar Hagen observed psychiatric patients in his last films, he now looks into the abysses of a mentally disturbed society. A society that believes in a technology which has increasingly proved to be uncontrollable and keeps promoting it against its better judgment. Because it supposedly exists, the safest place on earth, where deathly nuclear waste can be stored harmlessly for hundreds of thousands of years.
Playing dumb in the tradition of the medieval fool, Hagen asks to see this place. He travels around the world, from Switzerland to Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, China, Japan, the United States, Australia, and back. He crosses oceans and deserts, hikes through forests and moors, explores the interiors of mountains. The scenery grows more and more unreal, the Grail more and more distant. Hagen meets geologists and nuclear lobbyists, environmental activists, tribal leaders, and local politicians. Some of them convinced of the cause, others doubtful. There is a lot of talk about “proof” and “fundamental feasibility”. But he digs deeper, seemingly naive. This narrative attitude enables him to neatly expose all the justification strategies of the nuclear industry as constructs that have long ago ceased to be concerned with technical feasibility and deal only with selling the impossible. A film about madness.

Grit Lemke
Original Title: Die Reise zum sichersten Ort der Erde
Country: Switzerland
Year: 2013
Language: English, German
Subtitle: German
Runtime: 100 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Edgar Hagen
Producer: Hercli Bundi
Cinematographer: Peter Indergand
Editor: Paul-Michael Sedlacek, Edgar Hagen
Animation: Bruno Conti
Sound: Jean-Pierre Gerth
Music: Tomek Kolczynski
Script: Edgar Hagen
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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.