Evaporating Borders

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    Evaporating Borders

    Directed by

    Cyprus, USA


    73 min

    • English
    • Arabic
    • Greek


    IFF Rotterdam

    An essay in five parts, EVAPORATING BORDERS offers a series of vignettes, poetically guided by the filmmaker's curious eye and personal reflections.
    Through the people she encounters along the way, the film dissects the experience of asylum seekers in Cyprus: A PLO activist and exile from Iraq is denied asylum within 15 minutes; neo-nazi fundamentalists roam the streets in an attack on Muslim migrants; activists and academics organize an antifascist rally and clash with the neo-nazis; 195 migrants drown in the Mediterranean.

    Originally from Yugoslavia and an immigrant to Cyprus, Iva Radivojevic investigates the effects of large-scale immigration on the sense of national identity in one of the easiest ports of entry into Fortress Europe. Poetically photographed and rendered, the film passionately weaves the themes of migration, tolerance, identity and belonging.


    • RTP Award for Best Investigation Film - Doclisboa



    Iva Radivojevic
    Iva Radivojevic
    Iva Radivojevic
    Alexander Berne
    Stian Westerhus
    Sandy Brour
    Monsieur Doumani

    Director's Statement

    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.



    Thoughtful and lyrical...Radivojevic's film is a valiant call for a new way of thinking.

    Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter

    Serbian-Cypriot director Iva Radivojevic paints an elaborate, intimate and social picture of the oft-ignored situation in Cyprus.

    David González, Cineuropa

    Iva Radivojevic

    Iva Radivojevic


    Iva Radivojevic is a Brooklyn based filmmaker. Her films have screened at NYFF, SXSW, Rotterdam IFF, HotDocs, Museum of Modern Art (NYC), PBS, New York Times Op-Docs. She is the recipient of the Sundance Art of Non Fiction Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Princess Grace Special Project Award and Film Fellowship and was named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine. Her project ALEPH was selected for the Venice Gap-Financing Market 2019.