Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Shelter (2014) Film Review
Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
It may look like an unprepossessing bunker in the middle of the bourgeois and opulent Swiss town of Lausanne but all human life passes through its portals – mostly in desperation.
These are the dispossessed and homeless who come there every night from deprived corners of the globe for shelter and sustenance in what one of them calls “the land of the Rolex”.
Documentary filmmaker Fernand Melgar -who makes a speciality of throwing the spotlight on those who do not conveniently fit in to society and frequently are ignored - is adept at capturing these stories in a naturalistic way.
The shelter can only hold 100, so the selection procedures have to be rigorous with women and children given priority and the remaining places shared out among the men. The chosen few are then entitled to a bed for the night and a hot meal. For those that do not make it inside a long cold night in the open or in a doorway is the only option.
Every night the same ritual is played out with those working in the facility on the receiving end of considerable hostility from their “clients”, who have little chance of breaking out from the vicious circle of hopelessness.
This may seem like a “local” problem in an affluent town in a privileged country but it is one that has a universal implications. Melgar, however, is content to limit his horizons. His heart, obviously, is in the right place but unlike his previous film about asylum seekers Special Flight, it lacks pace, suffers from repetition and needs tighter editing.Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2014