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45th Parallel


A monologue is performed in a building that inhabits the thickness of a borderline, telling stories of permeable borders and impermeable laws, reflecting on how free movement, free knowledge and free space are under threat.

The Haskell Free Library and Opera House provides staging for Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s layered reflection on the curious and violent politics of the border.

In a jurisdictional grey zone straddling the US/Canada border, a thick black line runs through its centre. Within the building the line is symbolic yet the opera house stage technically lies in a different country to its audience. Positioned at various angles to the line, the film’s camera holds viewers at similarly intimate distance to a set of boundaries that feel at once concrete and indistinct. We are reminded that borders do not represent fixed topographies, but rather a nexus of ideological, political, and legal frameworks - our ability to navigate them depending entirely on our relationship to power.

At the centre of the film is a story from another border: a judicial case covering the fatal shooting of a teenage Mexican national by a US Border Patrol agent. The denial of extradition for trial by the Supreme Court was ethically troubling, seemingly safeguarding against setting a wider precedent; one that might see a “mountain of souls” seeking justice for the use of lethal force deployed remotely, particularly in international theatres of conflict.

45th Parallel confronts these dissonances between legal facts and moral truths, tracing the sounds of gunshots as they ripple through the fabric of the world.

Sam Kenyon

Director filmography: Once Removed (2019), Walled Unwalled (2018), Rubber Coated Steel (2016), The All-Hearing (2014), Double-take: Leader Of The Syrian Revolution Commanding A Charge (2014)

  • Director Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Country UK
  • Year 2022
  • Duration 15m
  • Scottish Premiere


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