The massive movement of refugees in the 21st century, from the Middle
East and the global South to Europe, the US and Canada, is challenging our
notions of borders.
View or Download Film Series Program in PDF (582 KB)
For much of the 19th and the 20th centuries borders in the Western world
were linked in a positive manner – albeit not without tensions – to concepts
of assimilation, acculturation, nostalgia, exchange, mixing, third spaces,
rhizomes, etc. However, in recent times the politics of borders has been
subject to changes stemming from heightened fears of terrorism and an
economic logic of protectionism that have reanimated in host populations
archaic apprehensions of the foreigner, and mobilized social memories that
once justified genocides, pogroms, ghettos and exclusions.
In parallel, the experience of those seeking refuge in the West is no longer
declined from a utopian perspective. The longstanding link between utopia
and exile appears to have dissolved away, pulverized. What now seems to
most characterize the experience of refugees in the West – transnational
mafias, geopolitical interests, inter-ethnic conflicts – has, in the majority
of cases, forced individuals into new spaces of exclusion and danger. In
response to these challenges a significant body of work has been produced
in recent years by filmmakers such as those including in this film series
Irina Patkanian, Teresa Prata, Bachir Bensaddek, and Ai Weiwei.
The CMTS and Ryerson University invite you to the Refugees: Films + Debate. The series seeks to examine the representation of refugee experience in contemporary cinema asking: what is new in contemporary representations of the refugee/of host populations; and, do contemporary representations propose new reflections on the crisis of refugees?
Hudson Moura, programmer
Department of Politics and Public Administration