During the second world war, the then fourteen-year-old Markus Imhoff’s Swiss family welcomed into its folds malnourished eight-year-old Italian refugee Giovanna. But when the war ended, the child was sent her back to her homeland by the Swiss authorities. In 1949 the Imhoofs arranged for her return, but were thwarted when the authorities stepped in again to send her home, where Giovanna died shortly after her return. She was thirteen.
Imhoof draws from these traumatic events from his childhood to examine the current migrant crisis. Boarding the ship of the Mare Nostrum operation, he visits the refugee camps of southern Italy and attends the hearings of asylum seekers in Switzerland - all a part of the process of returning migrants to where they have fled from. Eldorado paints a bitter picture of a system careless towards human tragedy, and of a crisis of global inequality which has made rich northern countries a kind of El Dorado, to which the less fortunate would pay anything to enter.