Tate Britain Film

Film screening of Borderline

Borderline film still 1930

Black Subject film screening 2 Photo David Dawson

Black Subject film screening, Photo David Dawson

Kenneth Macpherson Borderline, UK 1930 black and white, silent, 63min,  Cert 12

Cast: Paul Robeson, Eslanda Robeson, Helga Doorn 

Borderline (1930) is a groundbreaking silent film with an explicit theme of racial prejudice and an implicit homoerotic subtext. Directed by Kenneth Macpherson, editor of the influential intellectual film journal Close Up (1927–33) it is highly influenced by the psychological realism of GW Pabst and Sergei Eisenstein's montage.  Borderline tells the story of a tense, inter-racial love triangle and its deadly consequences. Macpherson embellishes this story by portraying the extreme psychological states of the characters. The result is a unique and complex matrix of racial and sexual tension moving between the boundaries of black and white, male and female and the conscious and the unconscious. This version of the film includes a score by jazz musician Courtney Pine. 

The screening will be followed by a discussion with Prof. Laura Marcus (Oxford University) and writer and critic Prof. Sukhdev Sandhu (NYU), chaired by Tate Curator Sonya Dyer. A cash bar will be open before and after the event.

Tate Britain

The Clore Auditorium

London SW1P 4RG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

20 February 2015 at 18.30–21.00