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The Tunnel (Roland Suso Richter)

The Tunnel

The Tunnel (Roland Suso Richter)

I recognized Heino Ferch from the cult favorite, Run Lola Run. But his role in The Tunnel is a whole different story, literally.

Based in Berlin in 1961, The Tunnel educates us and pulls us into the amazing and true story of some heroic individuals, including the main character Harry Lechoir, played by Ferch, who brings pride to his East Berlin homeland after becoming a champion swimmer, only to walk away from it all in his resistance to the Communist regime of that time.

We learn of the beginning of the Cold War as East Berlin and the Russians began to take more measures to hold their citizens prisoner, where emigration was at times punishable by death. We see the wall being built and people plotting and scheming to get out, seeing them abandon everything they have and everyone they know in search of freedom.

We also see triumph in the face of anguish and despair as families and loved ones are separated by a 12” thick piece of concrete, or are joined again by any means possible, even using a large truck to plow through the wall.

Having already endured imprisonment by East Berlin for his resistance to communist control of Germany, Lechoir is more determined than ever to not only make it to West Berlin, but make sure his beloved sister is not left behind. These personal stories are at the heart of this movie as Lechoir and his compatriots bring their plans to fruition, forging a tunnel from beneath a West Berlin warehouse to an abandoned building on the East side.

The process was at times excruciating and you felt that they couldn’t go on. As much as I hate to use cliché terms, I was literally on the edge of my seat and almost holding my breath when they finally made it to the other side and night went down for the escape.

Today the remnants of the Berlin wall stand for something all together different, as a shrine for individuality and artistic expression. We read about the Cold War in history books and read about government control in other countries, but The Tunnel give us as much of a realistic picture of that time as is possible. It allows for an opportunity at deeper perspective of human endurance and appreciation of when the wall finally came down.


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