8.8 10
2015 118min

Above and Below

  • English
  • English, German, French

Production Companies

Above and Below is a rough and rhythmic roller coaster ride seating five survivors in their daily hustle through an apocalyptic world. A journey of challenges and beauty in uncomfortable places: Rick & Cindy, Godfather Lalo in the flood channels deep down under the shiny strip of Sin City. Dave in the dry and lonesome Californian desert and April in simulation for a Mars mission in the Utah desert. Through the hustle, the pain and the laughs, we are whisked away to an unfamiliar world, yet quickly discover the souls we encounter are perhaps not that different from our own.

AWARDS: Best Documentary. Deutscher Filmpreis Award/ Best Camera. Deutscher Filmpreis Award/ Best Documentary. Swiss Film Awards/ Best Film Editing. Swiss Film Awards/ Students Award. Milano Film Festival/ Best German Documentary. Munich Documentary Film Festival/ Special Mention. Signes de Nuit International Film Festival/ Grand Prix du Festival for Best Feature Film. Cinéma des Peuples International Film Festival/ Youth Audience Award. Cinéma des Peuples International Film Festival/ FIPRESCI Award. Message to Man International Film Festival/ Best Documentary. Baden-Wurttemberg Filmschau/ Millenium Award. Docs Against Gravity Film Festival/
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Internatinales Filmfest Eberswalde/ Lima International Film Festival/ Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival/ Wisconsin Film Festival/ Minneapolis St-Paul International Film Festival/ Atlanta Film Festival/ Millenium International Documentary Film Festival/ Filmfestival Schaffhausen/ Guadalajara International Film Festival/ Zagreb International Documentary Film Festival/ Internationales Filmwochenende Wurzburg/ DocPoint Helsinki Documentary Film Festival/ Solothurner Filmtage/ Berlin and Beyond Film Festival/ Iran International Documentary Film Festival/ This Human World International Filmfestival der Menschenrechte/ Filmschau Baden-Wurttemberg/ Festival International Signes de Nuit/ IFF of the Art of Cinematography/ Exground Filmfest Wiesbaden/ DOC NYC New York Documentary Festival/ Cork Film Festival/ CPH:DOX International Documentary Film Festival/ Duisburger Filmwoche/ Internationale Filmtage Hof/ Human Roghts Film Festival "Inconvenient Films"/ Message to Man" International Film Festival St Petersburg/ Vancouver International Film Festival/ Milano Film Festival/ DOkufest International Documentary and Short Film Festival/ Locarno International Film Festival/ Durban International Film Festival/ Karlovy Vary International Film Festival/ Edinburgh International Film Festival/Docville International Documentary Film Fesitval/ Hot Docs/ Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival/ Rotterdam International Film Festival/ Max Ophuls Filmfestival

Above and Below, Astronauts and sewers

Above and Below confronts us, in its first minutes of introduction, with the unusual contrast of the sub-worlds to which we will submerge next. The creepy walk of a man illuminating with a lantern an immense tunnel and, on the other hand, what would seem at first as a trio of astronauts exploring a Martian territory, appear before our eyes as two scenes impossible to connect. 

The second feature film by Swiss director Nicolas Steiner, sculps itself and slowly shows a prism of portraits of human beings rejected by the normalizing civilization. Men and women who scratch extraordinary identities either among the sewers of the city of Las Vegas, or in the endless deserts of the American West.

April, an ex-combatant in Iraq, finds in the red desert of Utah the escape she longs for by exploring its territory dressed in an astronaut costume. Rick, Cindy and Lalo make of the sewers their barricade against outside socialization. Finally, David strives to communicate with God with the objects that he has at hand, isolated in a refuge of the Californian desert. Above and Below is an overwhelming poem, between dystopian and crude in its realism, about the most intimate human exile and the spaces to which it clings.

Crew