Michael Gott
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Beyond bridges and tunnels
The border imaginary of European TV series
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This chapter focuses on the unique ways that TV series contribute to screen borders. Ongoing series are able to adapt progressively to the changing political and social contours of Europe, and in some cases changing borders, as was the case with UK co-productions after Brexit. This chapter argues that the ‘border series’ has become a genre category of its own in contemporary Europe, and traces the most prominent characteristics of this vein of television. The first part examines key tropes, settings, and approaches in series that collectively represent what I identify as the European ‘border series’. European series from diverse locales on the continent share strikingly similar border imaginaries. The second half zooms in on three specific series that exemplify the mapping function of border series from three very different positions. All are also partially francophone, relating to and engaging with French or France in different ways. Capitani (2019–), the first series from Luxembourg distributed by Netflix (and the country’s first crime series), looks at Europe from a small but central perch. Occupied (2015–), a co-production of the Franco-German broadcaster Arte and Norwegian TV2, tells the story of an EU-endorsed Russian invasion of Norway in the near future as a response to that nation’s decision to halt all oil and gas production. Last, I consider the 2019 Arte limited series Eden, directed by Dominik Moll, who describes himself as a Franco-German individual but a ‘French’ director. The series traces five interwoven trajectories related to Europe’s refugee crisis.

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Screen borders

From Calais to cinéma-monde


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