MUBI is presenting the exclusive online premiere of Iva Radivojevic's Evaporating Borders, playing in most countries around the world June 10 - July 19, 2016, in partnership with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. The director was kind enough to share with MUBI a written introduction to her documentary.
I usually introduce this film as an experience. These days I may even add that it’s a confessional experience. Ideally, it reads as a journey that leads you somewhere, a transformative moment perhaps. Ideally, I say.
The journey starts in Cyprus—it’s the island where I grew up. And as an immigrant there, I had a certain kind of experience. The political situation in Eastern Europe at the time sent waves of people into migration. Originally, I’m from Yugoslavia, a country that no longer exists. When we moved to Cyprus I was twelve and by the age of 18, I couldn’t wait to escape the small island. So I left for New York.
Every so often, I would return to visit my family in Cyprus. I loved the island and I also struggled to call it home. As the years progressed, wars around the world shifted direction, and the migrants changed face. The attitudes toward them also changed. The xenophobia and racism that was once subdued became rampant, and I felt an intense urge to talk about it.
It was never my intention to be your guide through the island; however, I realized it was important to me that you know who is guiding you, why they are guiding you and in what way, so that you can then decide whether to agree or disagree with your narrator. For that I need to be transparent, and re-constructed an experience.
Along the path, I collected images, sounds, stories and made notes of my observations. I built a collage. The collage became the film. The film is fragmented to echo the divided nature of the island itself. It uses Cyprus only as an example to create a representation of the global society. At times it dives into poetry, because poetry (in my world) penetrates deepest. In penetrating deeper, the film seeks to act as a mirror, a reflection. It ponders a thought beautifully expressed by Brecht:
A (man) does not need to stay as he is now, nor does he have to be seen only as he is now, but as he might become…I must not simply set myself in his place but must set myself facing him to represent us all.
I know now, few years after having made the film, that the film is the result of a wound. We all carry wounds. Sometimes they are deep and at other times they are diminutive. But, eventually, all wounds want to heal, to evaporate.