cold sweats on the big screen at the New York airport


Diego (Alberto Ammann) and Elena (Bruna Cusi) in “Border Line,” by Juan Sebastian Vasquez and Alejandro Rojas. CONDOR DISTRIBUTION


The directors of BorderlineJuan Sebastian Vasquez and Alejandro Rojas, Venezuelan forties living in Spain, deeply love American cinema of the 1970s, which was part of the counterculture, refused to sell dreams and pointed out injustices, particularly in gripping thrillers – we particularly think of A dog’s afternoon (1975), by Sidney Lumet, with Al Pacino in the role of a bank robber who loses control, among employees taken hostage. Borderlinethe first feature film from the tandem of filmmakers, brings us to the ground, alongside a couple from Barcelona who are going to live a few hours of anguish, in an airport near New York – the film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Premiers Plans festival in Angers.

Read the review: Article reserved for our subscribers At the Premiers Plans festival in Angers, the anxiety-provoking and virtuoso “Border Line” triumphs

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Elena (Bruna Cusi), Spanish, and her companion Diego (Alberto Ammann), of Venezuelan origin, leave Spain and go to try their luck in the United States. We discover them in love, lighthearted, even if Diego seems a little feverish. Elena is a dancer, Diego is an urban planner. As a Latin American, he knows he is waiting for the turning point when he arrives on American soil – and even then, at this stage, the viewer does not know everything.

Will the couple obtain their residence permit? Alberto Ammann doesn’t have the crazy look of Al Pacino. But the Spanish actor uses body language, and other tiny signs, to portray the nervousness of his character: Diego blinks a little too often, feverishly searches for his papers, feels the need to reassure himself… proof that he worries.

When getting off the plane, in New York, then in the line where travelers wait before presenting their papers, Diego scans the faces of the immigration agents, behind their counters, trying to detect the one who seems the most clement. But the man examining his passport doesn’t look comfortable. After some usual checks, he asks the couple to follow him for “additional checks”. Barely a dozen minutes have passed and the millimeter film leaves the daylight for the neon-lit offices on the lower floors.

A fabulous game of ping-pong

In the basement of the airport, Borderline does not fall into the underworld of science fiction, but into a realism that sends shivers down your spine. Inspired by testimonies read or heard, the directors make us experience, certainly by fictionalizing it, the typical interrogation to which a couple suspected of a sham marriage can be exposed, in the United States. The individual suddenly finds himself in a gray zone where he is denied certain basic rights. Like using your phone to make a call.

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