Eye For Film >> Movies >> Borderline (2016) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Lynn has borderline personality disorder (BPD). A condition that can be distressing to live with in itself, and that can create serious difficulties in engaging with others, it has been addressed in film before, but never like this. Lynn is a dancer and choreographer. In this short film from director Lindsay Goodall, she communicates her experiences through the medium of dance.
One of the difficulties faced by people with BPD is coping with the intensity of their emotions and helping others understand that those emotional experiences are real. Here, the physical intensity of dance does a lot of the heavy lifting, showing the turbulence of life with this condition, the strength required to manage it, and the strain that creates. Paralleling this is the environment in which the dance takes place. Raw, stained walls and wooden uprights give the impression of a construction site, reflecting the intense therapy Lynn has recently gone through to help her build a more satisfying life. We see the roughness of it but also its potential. In some scenes, the dancers use it to support themselves; in others they appear caged within it.
There are just two of them: Lynn and collaborator Vince Virr. This provides an opportunity to dramatise the way that BPD makes it hard to form and maintain intimate relationships. Through dance, Lynn shows us the sweetness of something first developing, then her fear of abandonment, then a wrestling for control. In between these scenes - the early stages of a developing piece of choreography - she talks about her feelings and reveals fragments of her past. There are places she's not willing to go and we never get the sense that she's pushed; the monster we don't see always seems more terrifying anyway. She's very much in control of the narrative and it's good to see a mentally ill person getting to speak for herself on film, but there are other areas where she lacks control, and she's brutally honest about them.
Borderline has already begun to attract high praise at festivals, and it's well deserved. Whilst short films often aim to innovate, few pull it off as successfully as this. Viewers will be enlightened about the film's subject without feeling that they're being lectured. Rather than preaching, Borderline uses dance to intrigue, enchant, and invite its audience to engage on an intuitive level. Catch it if you can.Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2017