A portrait of an unknown place in Evaporating Borders
by David González
- Serbian-Cypriot director Iva Radivojevic paints an elaborate, intimate and social picture of the oft-ignored situation in Cyprus
There are many places that turn out to be more unknown than they appear. Is it possible for a country to be the meeting point between Europe, Asia and Africa, and at the same time not feature in many global newspaper headlines? Cyprus is an island in the middle of the Mediterranean that fulfils these criteria. The cultural, ethnic, political, social and human melting pot that gives it its distinctive shape is perhaps something that is known only to those who are actually part of it. First-time Serbian-Cypriot director Iva Radivojevic is one of those people, and she uses her light, calm, gentle gaze to whisk the viewer away to an almost-unknown reality. Evaporating Borders [+see also:
film profile], the film in which she does this, was presented at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and is continuing its tour around festivals all over the world, having recently made an appearance at the SXSW event in the United States and the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.
Radivojevic, now settled in New York, takes a very close-up look at the reality that she was part of. Through the windows, the empty doorframes and the other gaps in the buildings, Evaporating Borders casts its gaze upon Cyprus. Immigrants converge on the island – from those arriving from the broken-up and damaged Balkan Peninsula, just like the director herself, to those who come from the constantly suffering Near East. The island, which is even a border in itself (its capital, Nicosia, is the only divided capital in the world), is home to a thunderous social conflict between the Turkish and Greek communities, as well as all those that surround them. In order to address the problem, Radivojevic tactfully approaches the topics of human trafficking, the government’s rejection of immigrants and extreme-right ideologies (showing us a clash between demonstrations by anti-fascist activists and by ELAM, the sister organisation of the Greek Golden Dawn party).
The idea behind Evaporating Borders (co-produced by Cypriot outfit Lea Est Mundi) is to portray immigration as just another part of nature; humans move around almost like flamingos that migrate as the season changes. However, its own nature is more closely related to intimacy than to social protest. Through its five chapters full of gentle, honest and simple images, Radivojevic’s story manages to transcend the most thoughtful, and even the most lyrical, aspect of a subject that does not usually have room to accommodate delicacy of any kind.
(Translated from Spanish)
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