Chantal Akerman, From the Other Side (2002) 103 minutes
April 25, 6:15 PM, Visual Arts Presentation Lab, SME 149

According to Film Comment, “From the Other Side [2002] forms part of her cycle of nonfiction films about the experience of displacement and borders, sharing titles denoting only direction—Sud, D’Est, Là-bas.” In this case, Akerman directs her gaze to the US-Mexico border, interviewing subjects on either side of the divide in order to capture the varying perceptions of it. In Mexico, her interviewees speak of the innumerable lives lost traversing that desert expanse with its punishing weather; while in Arizona, sheriffs and American citizens speak of immigration policies, reflecting barriers that are at once cultural and political.

What has been mentioned about the film and Akerman’s will to address these complexities is that the entire endeavor reveals “a mind working at multiple levels of reference and abstraction” in which the border wall is—to use her exact words—“more powerful and less anecdotical than some people walking.”