The Borders Trilogy

USA / Documentary / 2003 / Alex Rivera Director, Producer, Camera, Editor

The Borders Trilogy tells three small stories to illuminate a much larger one: the contradictions of a world order in which products freely cross borders that people may not.

The first story is set at the border beach where the Pacific Ocean meets the United States and Mexico.  In the shadow of a surreal metal wall which separates the two countries, a few families separated by immigration policy reunite through the wall, in effect having a transnational picnic.

The second story is set in an entirely different border town: Newark, New Jersey.  Here, border crossers are taking over.  And these border-crossers are fifty-feet long.  They are the metal containers that bring products to the United States from factories around the world.  This story invokes one of the dysfunctions of globalization, and it demonstrates a visible consequence of an open-border for trade.

The final story dwells on a single, haunting, x-ray image that shows the way twenty-first century immigrants are responding to borders that are open to the products they might produce in the third world, but that are not open to them.

The Borders Trilogy is a succinct and powerful meditation on the contradictions of U.S. border policy.
• Online Premier
P.O.V. Web Series: ‘BORDERS’ 2003

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2008

• Aurora Picture Show 2008

• Virginia Film Festival 2008

• Galeria de la Raza, “No Distance is More Awesome” 2007

• The Getty Museum, “Surveying the Border” 2005


• THE BORDERS TRILOGY is held in the collections of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Williams College, the University of Texas, Austin, and many others.


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