As the relatively new deputy editor of Politicalite, when I was asked to review Lauren Southern’s new documentary film, Borderless, quite naturally I assumed I’d be writing just a typical run-of-the-mill ‘fluffer piece’ of sorts about another run-of-the—mill political movie. Just a few minutes in, however, and I quickly began to realise that I couldn’t have been more wrong. There is nothing average about this film. Borderless is something else. Something quite special – important, even; a rarity seldom seen in modern film-making.
It is a documentary that – through its sharp cinematography, groundbreaking reporting, and startling subject matter – deserves its place on Netflix or even the big screen. And if it weren’t for the fact that ‘big brother’ doesn’t want you to see it, it most likely would be.
As I soon found, Borderless itself is quite aptly without borders; a film that surprisingly takes no side, adheres to no lines drawn in the sand. As one of its directors, Caolan Robertson told me: “it’s the least political movie we’ve ever done”. And after sat gripped to the documentary for its comfortable hour, x minute duration, I have to agree with him. This film doesn’t force you into taking an opinion. It hasn’t been structured to omit certain truths or to whittle down the facts until a well-polished but artificial agenda-riddled product is delivered. It is simply the truth – the truth laid bare. And as the old saying goes – often, the truth is far more shocking than fiction.
Before watching the film, one could quite easily be excused for making the gebneral assumption that its presenter, Lauren Southern, is going to be just another beautiful PR tool – a stunning, well-spoken prop good at delivering lines, as we see in so many documentaries of its ilk. But then we quickly become slightly ashamed of our preconceptions; suddenly realising just moments into the movie that they are in fact MIS-conceptions. Southern is NOT just your average presenter. In fact, it’s difficult to label her as such at all.
Instead, like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, we are quickly hurled into the world that she is exploring – her intelligent, insightful and genuine narration to the camera making it feel as though we aren’t simply watching but are witnessing. And believe me – we’re not in Kansas anymore.
Just as Lauren seems to phase through the lens as though it weren’t there, so too do we at home feel the perspex screens of our televisions and laptops drop like fine veils. We can feel the stifling uncomfortable heat of the over-packed refugee camps, can hear the voices of the endless victims and perpetrators that Southern interviews – not as tinny tremors reverberating through our speakers, but as though they were actually being delivered in front of us. And that, perhaps most of all, is what gives Borderless its unique edge – that it takes its subject matter and delivers it back to us in the flesh.
Part of that can also be attributed to the modern style in which the documentary has skillfully been shot. But in the main, it is thanks to Lauren’s wealth of knowledge and passion for the topics she reports on.
Embarking on her journey, we are taken on an epic tour through recent history and into the now– from the fiery turmoil of the Arab Spring, to Turkey, Greece, Morocco, Brussels, Paris, all the way back across to Ireland — no stone is left unturned as we follow a well-woven path shared by those caught-up in the tragedy of the migrant crisis.
Shortly into the film, Lauren travels to a refugee camp in Moria, Greece – one of the largest camps in Europe and just a brief drive inland on the idyllic Greek island of Lesbos.
The camp – originally constructed to house no more than around 2,000 refugees, – bursts at the seams with a swelling of over 10,000. Yet as Lauren evidences through speaking to the people living through it, more are coming every day.
We are then made to witness, often from firsthand sources, how the migrant crisis is being dangerously exploited by criminals and terrorists. We may be in ‘Mama Mia land’ right now, but this is certainly no pastel-coloured holiday. This is real life. Rape, drugs, murder, brutality; everything is for show. Everyone is expendable.
In one part of the movie, Southern talks to a group of men about their experiences of being beaten and sliced by ISIS members disguised as refugees.
“they can rape, they can kill, they can steal” says one refugee, bringing home the sudden realisation that the people he speaks of are slowly rambling into our own cities.
But at the same time, what we are watching makes us understand that Europeans aren’t the only ones suffering from the travesty brought about by the likes of Angela Merkel and Tony Blair. The exploitation of genuine refugees – the trauma they go through, the conditions that our governments have created – all become morbidly apparent.
This film possesses the compassion that many of us conservative commentators shamefully neglect, though often unintentionally. It is therefore open to all sides of the argument, and it is imperative that all sides accept its invitation.
It’s far too easy to munch down almost zombie-like on the endless barrage of news reports and daily doses of articles on what is essentially this generation’s hottest topic, and to do so with little to no emotion or genuine empathy. We feel disconnected from it all. We shake our heads at another snippet headline in The Daily Express or tut in disbelief as another news reporter reels out a tale of migrant caravans, bursting refugee camps, the poor child lying face-down and limp in the sand, or ‘that terrorist who slipped through the net’. But then the page is turned. The news transitions matter-of-fact to a chirpy weatherman telling us that ‘tomorrow it’ll be raining across most parts of the South’, getting ‘slightly warmer as the day goes on’. And as with the homeless man whose cup we dropped a fifty pence piece into outside the supermarket, we carry on about our business. We forget. We move forward. Until the temporary, flitting ‘next time’.
Borderless, however, is not something so easily forgotten. It lingers, as it should do; nagging out the intellectual arguments and reflections posed by Southern, forcing us to accept some perhaps uneasy home truths and ideologies while questioning the pre-instilled presence of others. It leaves us pondering.
I have to say, there is currently no other film on the subject quite like it, and sadly – thanks to censorship by those who seek to cover-up their involvement in the shockingly irresponsible mistakes laid embarrassingly bare in Bordeerless – nor will there likely ever be.
Borderless is out now and available to watch for free on Youtube by clicking on the following link or by visiting Lauren Southern’s website. Watch it before it disappears: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ_fz9EW5Iw