Skip to content
Eye Logo link to homepageEye Film Museum Logo, link to homepage
The border fence1

IDFA - The Border Fence

Nikolaus Geyrhalter / AT, 2018 / 112 min.

With a sharp eye, Nikolaus Geyrhalter (Homo sapiens, Our Daily Bread) explores the few square kilometres around the Brenner Pass. In 2016, this border between Austria and Italy suddenly became the setting for changing EU policy on the refugee crisis. After the closure of the Balkan route, Austria was worried that refugees would flood through the Brenner Pass. So in the spring of 2016, the government took “construction measures,” a euphemism for putting up a fence.


Geyrhalter conducted detailed interviews with local police officers, hikers, farmers, toll collectors and cafe owners, filmed in precisely composed shots. Here in this small border area, we hear a wide range of views, often remarkably balanced, and ranging from covert xenophobia to criticism of the populist government. Geyrhalter respects every opinion and makes no judgments.

The camera records a static and almost immobile Tirol using wide-angle lenses and long shots. In his portrait of the locals and their deeply-rooted traditions, Geyrhalter also hints at the absurdity of the border, telling a larger, urgent story about the state of Europe.



Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Production year




Original title

IDFA - Die bauliche Maßnahme


112 min.


German, Italian



The border fence2
The border fence3
Planning on having a drink or a bite to eat? Book online for Eye Bar Restaurant.
Share your love for film and become a member of the Eye Society.

Current exhibition

  • 20 January — 20 May 2024

    Paravel & Castaing-Taylor

    Cosmic Realism

Films, talks & events

Show everything

for anytime

in all languages

Sort by