Topography of the Frontier (part 2)

Friday, 29 September 2017, 9:00 p.m.

Cinémathèque québécoise

335, boul. De Maisonneuve Est, Montréal

Admission: 10 $; Students, seniors: 9 $


We resume our exploration of the topography of the frontier with two films. One was shot on the seaside while the other is out at sea:

Tout le monde aime le bord de la mer

A film by Keina Espiñeira
Spain, 2016, 18 min

A group of men are waiting at the fringes of a coastal woodland for the journey to Europe, in limbo between time and place. A film is shot there with the men playing themselves. Fiction and documentary constantly intertwine. Myths from the colonial past collide with dreams of a better future in the former oppressor’s country.

Keina Espiñeira holds a Master’s degree in Direction and Production of Documentary Films awarded by the Documentary Film Association in Madrid. She has also worked as a researcher in Barcelona, California, Nijmegen and Morocco. Border policy has a pivotal role in her work.

Dead Slow Ahead

A film by Mauro Herce
Spain, 2015, 74 min

A freighter crosses the ocean. Perhaps it is a boat adrift, or maybe just the last example of an endangered species with engines still running, unstoppable.

Mauro Herce graduated in engineering and fine arts before enrolling in film school at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV in San Antonio de los Baños (Cuba) and the École nationale supérieure Louis-Lumière in Paris. He started his career as a director of photography and screenwriter on such films as Ocaso (2010), Arraianos (2012), A puerta fria (2012), El quinto evangelio de Gaspar Hauser (2013) and Slimane (2013). Dead Slow Ahead (2015) is his first feature film as a director.



Topography of the Frontier (part 1)

Monday, 1 May 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Cinémathèque québécoise

335, boul. De Maisonneuve Est, Montreal

Admission: 10 $; Students, seniors: 9 $

On this International Workers’ Day, the project Topographies of Mass Violence presents a program of films that reflect on the conditions of migration of those who flee the precarious life of their countries. How have spatial objects, such as walls, border posts, lifeboats, cameras, satellites, smartphones, ships and helicopters, become harmful tools, to the point that they have been turned against the refugees they were supposed to protect and that they challenge their humanity? 1

A program presented by Véronique Leblanc and Emanuel Licha, at the invitation of Guillaume Lafleur from the Cinémathèque québécoise.


Best of Luck with the Wall

a film by Josh Begley
USA, 2016, 7 min

A voyage across the US-Mexico border, stitched together from 200,000 satellite images.

Josh Begley is a data artist and app developer based in Brooklyn, New York. He is the creator of Metadata+, an iPhone app that tracks US drone strikes. Appropriating publicly available satellite imagery, Begley’s work takes advantage of application programming interfaces, or APIs, to build collections of machine-generated images about quotidian life. His work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, NPR, The Atlantic, The Guardian and New York Magazine, and at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. He holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and New York University.

Liquid Traces The Left-to-Die Boat Case

a film by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani
UK/Germany, 2014, 17 min (O.V., English, with French subtitles)

Liquid Traces offers a synthesis of a reconstruction of the events of what is known as the “left-to-die boat” case, in which 72 passengers who left the Libyan coast heading in the direction of the island of Lampedusa on board a small rubber boat were left to drift for 14 days in NATO’s maritime surveillance area, despite several distress signals relaying their location, as well as repeated interactions, including at least one military helicopter visit and an encounter with a military ship. As a result, only 9 people survived.

Charles Heller is a filmmaker and researcher, whose work has a long-standing focus on the politics of migration and aesthetic practice within and at the borders of Europe. He is currently conducting postdoctoral research supported by the Swiss National Fund (SNF) at the Centre for Migration and Refugee Studies, American University, Cairo, and the Centre d’Études et de Documentation Économiques, Juridiques et Sociales, Cairo.

Lorenzo Pezzani is an architect and researcher, currently convening a new MA stream in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work deals with the spatial politics and visual cultures of migration, with a particular focus on the geography of the ocean.

Together they co-founded, in 2011, the WatchTheMed platform, a tool for non-governmental actors to exercise a critical right to look at the EU’s maritime frontier, as well as Forensic Oceanography, a collaborative project that critically investigates the militarized border regime and the politics of migration in the Mediterranean Sea.


a film by Philip Scheffner
Germany, 2016, 93 min (O.V. with English subtitles)

On September 14, 2012, at 2:56 pm, the cruise liner Adventure of the Seas reported to the Spanish Maritime Rescue Centre the sighting of a dinghy adrift with 13 persons on board. From a YouTube clip and biographical scenes, a choreography emerges reflecting the past, present and future of the voyagers on the Mediterranean.

Philip Scheffner lives and works as an artist and filmmaker in Berlin. Together with Merle Kröger, Alex Gerbaulet and Caroline Kirberg, he runs the production platform pong. He took part in the Berlinale Forum with Havarie (2016), And-Ek Ghes… (2016), Revision (2012), Der Tag des Spatzen (2010) and The Halfmoon Files (2007).


1 see Thomas Keenan, “Or are we human beings ?“, e-flux architecture, 14.02.2017