Lisa Gerig / Switzerland / 2023 / 81 min / World Premiere
Four asylum seekers reenact their conversations with the authorities in a role-playing game that reverses the roles. What happens when your future depends on your ability to tell your own life story in a convincing way?
In an ordinary and grey office like any other, four people are waiting to be called in for a hearing. The bureaucratic setting is closer to a theatre stage, however, for in ‘The Hearing’ the participants re-enact their own real-life conversations with the government officials who will assess their case. A Nigerian woman, a man from Cameroon, a transgender woman from Sri Lanka, and a young Afghan man – all four are in the same situation with everything at stake. What happens when your future depends on your ability to tell your own life story in a convincing and compelling way? The tension between reality and staging, between role-playing and reality, does not make their life stories any less moving or relevant. In a simple but brilliant move, however, debut director Lisa Gerig reverses both the roles and the balance of power. The result is a (thought)provoking film of great dignity that uses the performative interventions not as a conceptual gesture, but to give a form to four individuals’ subjective experience of a system that is alien to most.