University of Oulu

Juha Ridanpää (2017) Culturological Analysis of Filmic Border Crossings: Popular Geopolitics of Accessing the Soviet Union from Finland, Journal of Borderlands Studies, 32:2, 193-209, DOI: 10.1080/08865655.2016.1195699

Culturological analysis of filmic border crossings : popular geopolitics of accessing the Soviet Union from Finland

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Author: Ridanpää, Juha1
Organizations: 1Department of Geography, University of Oulu, 90014 University of Oulu, PL 3000, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-09-12


Recent studies in popular geopolitics have emphasized how films and the film industry play a significant role in the process of constructing politically charged worldviews, stereotypes of the “other,” as well as in the cultural reproduction of world politics. The production and screening of films takes place within certain social and geopolitical circumstances, which set the limits and the scope of perspective as far as what is a permissible, advisable or correct manner for film makers to approach certain politically charged topics. This paper discusses the geopolitical circumstances through which the national border of Finland and the Soviet Union has become an elementary part of the content of films, and how films focusing on the problematics of border crossing have a certain operational function within the context of their own creating. The specific focus is on how world geopolitics, in this case the Second World War, sets the limits for a film industry concerning what topics are suitable for audiences, how the act of crossing a border becomes a filmic event through which national identity is constructed and maintained, and how films play an operative role in the game in which foreign relations are performed, in this case in the politics of Finlandization. The material discussed consists of three films: Yli Rajan [Over the Border] (Ilmari 1942), Tuntematon Sotilas [The Unknown Soldier] (Laine 1955) and Born American (Harlin 1986).

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Series: Journal of borderlands studies
ISSN: 0886-5655
ISSN-E: 2159-1229
ISSN-L: 0886-5655
Volume: 32
Issue: 2
Pages: 193 - 209
DOI: 10.1080/08865655.2016.1195699
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: Research was financially supported by the Academy of Finland RELATE CoE [grant number 272168].
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 272168
Detailed Information: 272168 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2016 Association for Borderlands Studies. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of borderlands studies on 10 Jun 2016, available online: