Cathy Lee Crane
USA / 2010
4 min. / Digital file / Original version
The short documentary film ON THE LINE charts a trip around Baja California to the Tropic of Cancer line on the summer solstice. Largely photographed in-camera, the film develops its narrative drive through the rhythm of shot length and composition. Aided by an original score from Beth Custer and a wicked sound design by Jeremiah Moore that utilizes sounds from the Cassini space probe, the piece takes on a humorously sinister tone; as if the historical marker were an alien landing.
Cathy Lee Crane
USA / 2020
78 min. / Digital file / Original version
At the height of the Mexican Revolution, Pancho Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico. Every year, the town’s commemoration of the raid opens old wounds. This year (2018), Mexican riders on horseback (Cabalgata Binacional Villista) drive north through the Chihuahua desert with the grandson of Villa himself to donate Villa’s death mask. Richard Dean, the town’s self-proclaimed historian, finds the village enthusiasm for the Cabalgata “un-American.” The memorial he organizes for the Historical Society is also the anniversary of his grandfather’s murder by the Villistas. As the town grapples with the historical event that put Columbus on the map, it becomes clear that the very survival of this border town depends on it. The story of Columbus is as much about the past as it is the ritual of retelling and enacting it. After decades of repetition, this story has come to shape the town’s very identity.
In the context of current debates on immigration in North America, CROSSING COLUMBUS frames those controversies with the historical lens of the boundary itself; in particular, the history of crossing it.