Modernist in form and in plot, Borderline does not transcend the racial context in which it was conceived. It is perhaps hopeless to expect it to. However, the film is useful in the possibilities it hints at, and the coalitions it points towards. The queer atmosphere in the café is transient, but its power is lasting.
Fascinated by new theories of Soviet montage and psychoanalysis, and enamored of movies by G. W. Pabst and Jean Epstein and Sergei Eisenstein, these poets, theorists, and artists [of the Pool group] would collaborate on what would become perhaps the most exhilarating silent experiment of the new sound era: the thematically and formally radical 1930 film Borderline.
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