Mama Europa

Petra Seliskar

Slovenia, 2013, 90 min

So many children that in the end she could no longer keep track of them. She still cared about all of them but she had to let them go. She could no longer control them. As all children do, Mother Europe’s children grew up and became independent from her. In the end, the children moved out of their childhood home and created their own, unique homes. They were out of the hands of Mother Europe. They created their own rules and borders now.

This allegorical story is told in Petra Selikar’s feature documentary called Mama Europa. It’s a documentary dealing on a practical level with the existence of borders and how people’s lives are influenced by them. The film is also a more metaphysical examination of what borders mean. What is a border exactly except for some lines on a map and how do we perceive borders? For starters, borders are a human notion, a human invention; a way of structuring our world and separating one group of people from another. But why separate people? Of course we can find historical reasons for the existence of borders. And perhaps practical reasons as well. Some will argue that borders are necessary in order to control large

geographical areas such as planet Earth. Others will argue that borders and the units they create make people more competitive, more inventive. A third argument – and there are probably many more – could be that people need a sense of belonging and that this sense of belonging needs to be somewhat limited to an area we are able to grasp the notion of. However, you could find many arguments against borders as well. Why this need to limit ourselves? Why do we separate people when we are more or less the same and share the same world? Borders lead to dissatisfaction, to conflict, to war, to death. As one of the characters in Seliskar’s film says: ”How great this world would be if humans did not exist”.

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