Originally from Yugoslavia, a country that no longer exists except in books and films, my family immigrated to Cyprus to escape political unrest. Raised in Cyprus, I’m approaching the film as a personal exploration of what it means to have a hybrid existence in which one is always searching for an identity.
The title “Evaporating Borders” corresponds to the idea that the erosion of boundaries and borders (both physical and metaphoric) defamiliarize the narratives of selfhood through which identities take shape and reproduce themselves. The flow of populations, commodities and information is associated with loss of traditions, memories and histories. This poses a threat to national identity and translates to discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance. What is apparent in Cyprus is emblematic of hierarchical racial structures around the world, looking to cultures and peoples outside Western borders from a position of superiority.
While the film examines what it means to disassociate from these beliefs, it also explores the principles of inequality precipitated by certain cultures over others, classes against other classes, the concept of motherland, and an essentialized conception of identity. Though the film is told from my personal experience and point-of-view, it is less about my own story than an exploration of the mentioned themes.
I am approaching “Evaporating Borders” as a visual essay, where the narrating protagonist is a transparent guide that lends intimacy and personal nuance to the storytelling through direct observations. The island is introduced through my own migration where the narration introduces and concludes the film leaving the body of it to be told through characters encountered along the way.
The narration is a stream of consciousness that follows observations and emotions about what it means to be without a country. As such, the accompanying images are interpretive and suggestive, not expositional or directly illustrative. Like the migrants themselves the narrator is also undefined, hybrid and changing as she looks for her own identity.
By challenging the narratives of selfhood, the film proposes a search for broader harmonic relationships; inviting the viewer to delink from preconceived, culturally engrained paradigms that color the way we interact with the people and environment around us.
The film received a Princess Grace Special Project Award and a short journalistic piece based on the material from the film has been featured on The New York Times Op-Doc page.