Since its invention, cinema has been exploring the practice of creating and identifying borders, including: geographical borders, national borders, the abolition of borders and the construction of walls to delimit borders. Since its beginnings, cinema has become a key part of the global economy as well as of colonialism and of the appropriation of the world through images. Films are themselves specific products of the global trade. They speak of their own border crossings, rendering them visible, audible and relatable, thus contributing to border negotiations.
The concept of cross-border cinema is linked to specific characters: vagabonds, migrants, merchants, tourists or terrorists – but also to far less defined and less related phenomena – such as strangers or aliens. Cinema crossing borders anchors only partially to classical genre – such as the road movie, western, war film and science fiction; or to contemporary forms, including postcolonial and transnational cinema. As a genuine portrayal of movement, cross-border cinema encompasses all of these genres – including Hollywood cinema, documentary film, auteur cinema, essay film, etc. From its origins to the present, cinema seems to be the predestined medium for staging and transcending border transitions, for reflection as well as documentation and thereby for shaping border practices.
In connection with modern studies of the cinema of migration and of transnational cinema, this Conference invites international experts to reflect on cinema crossing borders within the wider interdisciplinary contexts of Border Studies. Central to this discussion are, among others, the new forms of cosmopolitan cinema, European borders, American borders as well as genre borders.
Delia González de Reufels, Winfried Pauleit, Angela Rabing, Christine Rüffert
University of Bremen