Scen.: Rudolf Werner Kipp. F.: Hans Böcker, Erich Stoll, Rudolf Werner Kipp. M.: Marcel Cleinow. Prod.: Deutsche Dokumentarfilm GmbH, Institut für Film und Bild in Wissenschaft und Unterricht (FWU). 35mm. D.: 37’. Bn.
Asylrecht is a curious production: medium-length, an unclassifiable cross between documentary and fiction, commissioned by the British Film Section, premiered at the Venice Film Festival, shown for the first time in the FRG on the occasion of a refugee congress, and never regularly released but by way of non-commercial distribution available in various versions for decades. You could call it a crypto classic, as you could several other works of Rudolf Werner Kipp, a master of educational filmmaking who in this his finest achievement did honour to his professed main inspiration, John Grierson. Kipp filmed with real refugees, in actual camps; while in many cases scenes were arranged with their participation, some of the most dramatic moments were shot using a hidden camera. The refugees whose plight we learn about here mainly try to leave the Soviet occupied areas for the Trizone, but not everybody could enter. This is curious considering that the FRG would need every person able to work (in fact, later shorts about refugees stress exactly this as the main argument for being less hostile towards the strangers). In the film’s most haunting shots, groups of refugees walk like spectres through misty woods and meadows – lost to the world, having fallen through.