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Borderline [DVD] [1930]

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Paul Robeson, Eslanda Robeson, Hilda Doolittle, Gavin Arthur, Charlotte Arthur
  • Directors: Kenneth MacPherson
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 7 May 2007
  • Run Time: 71 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000P0JOQG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,287 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

BORDERLINE
A film by Kenneth Macpherson

Borderline occupies a unique place in British cinema history. Kenneth Macpherson's masterpiece was made only a year after Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera (1929) was made and it features iconic star Paul Robeson and his wife Eslanda, as well as other members from the editorial board of the film journal Close up such as the poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Robert Herring and Bryher.

Heavily influenced by the psychological realism of G W Pabst and Sergei Eisenstein's montage, Bordeline is a matrix of racial and sexual tension moving between the boundaries of black and white, male and female and the conscious and the unconscious.

Featuring a new soundtrack by the masterful British composer and saxophonist Courtney Pine, Borderline'sformal experimentation finds a perfect match in the contemporary rhythms of Pine's heady modern jazz score

DVD extras

  • Filmed interview with Courtney Pine
  • Kenwin (1996) by Véronique Goël
  • Close Up (1996) by Véronique Goël
  • Trailers for Dreams That Money Can Buy (1948) and Pink Narcissus (1971)

UK | 1930 | black & white | silent with music | Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles on extras | 71 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD | 2 discs

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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There is something a bit disturbing about watching `Borderline' and it is the same feeling that arises when people today discuss issues such as racism as if it were a personal, rather than social, issue. It is the arrogance of the implied statement; `the world revolves around me'. A film that purports to deal with racism ends up by saying `black=good, white=not so good'.

Judging from the notes that accompanies this DVD the only reason that the Robesons agreed to staring in this film was to amuse themselves at the expense of this bunch of self -indulgent (and self-deluded) bourgeois group: the POOL group. That isn't to pass judgement on Macpherson and his group. They were, no doubt, very sincere about their anti-racism. It is just that they could not see a world beyond their own parochial one.

As such, the viewer is made to feel like a voyeur. It seems as if we have gate-crashed a therapy session rather than a serious appraisal of a social issue. Things are given: you either accept it or you don't. There is little room for manoeuvre when it comes to the discussion of racism, sexism or gay rights (no doubt these people would have loved the social- issue-as-mental-health-problem, that peppers the etymology of social issues today; reducing racism or anti-gay pronouncements as `phobias').

But there is also something really beautiful about the film. Macpherson's constant close examination of Paul Robeson seems to suggest that, far from examining racism, he was more interested in the beauty of masculinity (sometimes Macpherson borders on portraying Robeson as the `sauvage noble'). And I found the film worked best on this level.
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If you are reading this, you are already a fan or curiousity seeker of the avante guarde arts movement connected with Close-Up, Macpherson's cine magazine. As with everything I've researched on the three responsible for the film, the wondrous depths of their oeuvre and the times from which it sprung, are fascinating. The Jazz soundtrack is a wonderful addition to the silent film and the extras, especially the letters to and from this "family" dramatically read against photographs and fictional "modern" family adds to the layering. Perdita, HD's biological daughter provides a voiceover of her ponderings in having inherited the letters, works, and books, and provides very personal insights into the daily life of this unusual trio, from a child's perspective. For the price, it's so much easier than going to the MOMA to view the film in its archive, as I have done years earlier. Enjoy entering another world of ideas and very colorful personalities as the period in cinema in which the considerations of film as art was hopeful and not yet dimmed by the machinations of Hollywood.
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Great dvd years ahead of its time.
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