At the Premiers Plans festival in Angers, the anxiety-provoking and virtuoso “Border Line” triumphs

At the Premiers Plans festival in Angers, the anxiety-provoking and virtuoso “Border Line” triumphs


A place for discovering first European feature and short films, the Premiers Plans d’Angers festival highlighted, in 2023, Dog from the Scrapyard (audience prize), which, subsequently, achieved great critical success during of its theatrical release, but also the young actor Dimitri Doré (Male Actor Prize), in Bruno Reidal , in 2022, or Ibrahim , by Samir Guesmi (grand jury prize), in 2021.

During the 36th edition of the festival, which took place from January 20 to 28, the jury, chaired by Robin Campillo, the director of 120 Beats Per Minute (2017), crowned a work of remarkable density, Border Line , Spanish fiction from a duo of directors from Venezuela, Juan Sebastian Vasquez, who comes from documentary, and Alejandro Rojas, also director of photography. As for the main actress in the film, Bruna Cusi, she was rewarded for her performance, gradually creating concern on her face and increasing the beat of this precise work.

It’s the story of a couple in their thirties who live in Barcelona and who decide to try their luck in the United States. Elena, from Spain, is a contemporary dancer, and her partner, Diego, from Venezuela, has difficulty finding a job despite his urban planning diploma. They sign a civil union pact and fly away very light. On the plane to New York, however, Diego seems a little nervous, as if the Latin American sensed that his immigration application was going to be scrutinized. He will not be disappointed, the authorities immediately suspecting a purely facade union (a sort of sham marriage) in order to obtain the papers. The officer at the counter, examining the passports, asks the couple to follow him for “further information,” and here are Elena and Diego stuck in a basement office.

Based on things experienced or on testimonies from loved ones, the two filmmakers set up a formidable question-and-answer system, revisiting the closed session à la Sidney Lumet. Two agents separately question Diego, then Elena, to uncover possible lies and cross-check information. A female officer (Laura Gomez, phenomenal) establishes a pseudo-complicity with Elena by revealing some embarrassing, private information about her companion, in an attempt to get her to talk – “Do you trust Diego? » For his part, her male colleague tests the young woman’s nervous limits, as well as her ability to obey her most eccentric requests. Bizarre and chilling, the aptly named Border Line (in theaters Wednesday May 1) probes the terror of an individual supposedly free and finding himself delivered into the hands of the authorities, endowed with exorbitant powers.

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