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The Dells de Nellie Kluz

The Dells by Nellie Kluz

The Dells de Nellie Kluz






THE DELLS observes the clash between imagination and reality faced by foreign students working in Wisconsin Dells, the self-proclaimed “Waterpark Capital of the World.”




The Dells is a small town in Wyoming, imbued with Swiss and German influences. It’s nighttime. Jason begins his rounds. He’s a taxi driver, but not just any taxi driver—he’s the one for the town’s students. For two dollars, he transports them from one place to another.

These students come from various parts of the world: Botswana, Turkey, Russia, and the Dominican Republic.

All day long, they work for a pittance, $8 an hour, up to 80 hours a week. On weekends, they gather by a lake where a boat takes visitors hiking in the forest and among the rocks. Or sometimes, they have fun at amusement parks, enjoying the thrill rides.

They have obtained American student visas, which allow any foreign student to stay for one or more months to try their luck with the American dream. Some become disillusioned and can’t wait to go back home. Others, despite the difficulties, want to try to stay.




Nelly KLUTZ films brief moments in the taxi, in the big stores, and episodes related to their tough daily lives, like the Turkish students who sleep in their truck that’s soon to be scrapped. But there are also very beautiful moments of calm. At night, nature alone is beautiful, with pink skies and deer in the forest. Then there are moments of life: the Dominicans who dream of becoming rich, people having fun underwater in the water park, the laughter, and the interactions they share.

Restaurant signs like “IHOP”, or the theatrical puppet show “Hamelin” based on the legend of the Pied Piper, remind us, as the story tells, that the American dream is increasingly just a dream.

To a student from a developing country who wants to settle in the United States because of the healthcare system, Jason—whom we follow throughout the film—responds that the United States is the only developed country where the right to health is not enshrined in the constitution.

After the excitement of filming students thrilled by the American dream, Nelly KLUTZ who filmed this documentary alone, also became disillusioned once again.

The Dells is a very beautiful documentary to watch in the selection of the American feature film competition.







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