Fluid Frontiers Screen 4 articles

Fluid Frontiers


Fluid Frontiers Poster
  • In our increasingly political landscape, we need political landscape films, and to a certain extent that is what Ephraim Asili has provided with his new film Fluid Frontiers. A film that moves in several directions at once, Fluid Frontiers is both a consideration of a key point of movement between the U.S. and Canada in the Underground Railroad... and a tribute to Detroit’s Broadside Press, a publishing house of the late 60s and 70s that specialized in radical black poetry.

  • All this we visualize and understand through simple and silent 16mm images; landscapes, artistic performances, anonymous narrators who read these poems of liberation and strength. A faceless voice accompanies us during the film telling us about her life as a slave in a past century Detroit, while young people relate poems of this same city in the sixties, representing the present of Detroit. In just a 23-minute film, Asili succeeds in beautifully portraying the complex history of an entire city.

  • Asili has concluded a five-part film suite that examines the African diaspora through a series of immeasurable equations: America and abroad...; personal and collective history; the past and the present; imaginations and realities; and image and sound. Abandoning digital video for 16mm, Asili has developed his documentary impulse into something more spontaneous and musical, his eye attuned to the unexpected rhythms afforded by montage.

  • As in [Nicolás Prividera's] Fatherland, the most affecting moments in Fluid Frontiers come when the reader stumbles – these are all cold, first takes – into some personal connection with the written voice he or she is speaking into existence. The inscrutable expression on the face of a bookstore clerk after she reads from Sonia Sanchez’s We a BaddDDD People (1970) is magical, like a phantasmagoric conjuring of Harriet Tubman and Sanchez and a thousand other black women too.

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