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Iva Leković

This paper analyses recent works by Aida Begić and Želimir Žilnik— Never Leave Me (2017) and The Most Beautiful Country in the World (2018), respectively. These works narrate the evolving lives of migrants on the borderlines of the Balkan Anatolian region. Migrants’ aspiration to reach their “dream land” is interpreted as a journey towards unfolding “the virtual realities of consciousness” of both actors and directors. The reflections of both Begić and Žilnik on the issue of migration, filmed in an accented style, highlight their own post-Yugoslav perspectives, which allows us to analyse the two films in context of “return to homeland”—a concept present both in Naficy’s theories of an accented cinema and in Boym’s notion of “reflective nostalgia.”

Robert Burgoyne

This chapter explores the unprecedented formal experiments of Richard Mosse and Ai Weiwei in their attempts to capture the signature global event of our time, the mass movements of refugees and immigrants across geopolitical boundaries. In Mosse’s Incoming, a thermal camera registers the heat emanating from human bodies from some 30 miles away, providing images of refugees in lifeboats, transport trucks, and refugee camps that are both other-worldly, almost mutant in their strangeness, and deeply moving—images that rivet the gaze. In Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow, drone cameras render the vast scale of human displacement around the world—a view from above is interspersed with the close witnessing of cell phone video, using the visual language of spontaneous documentation in counterpoint with a technology associated with military surveillance. In both films, Giorgio Agamben’s concept of “bare life” is articulated within an advanced optical and technological framework that brings new critical questions into view.

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