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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interplanetary Border Imaginaries in Upside Down: Divisions and Connections in the American Continent


This paper provides a close analysis of Upside Down (dir. Juan Solanas, 2012), a science fiction film that presents two radically different portraits of two neighboring planets to metaphorically explore and negotiate the economic divide between the US and Latin America. The film focuses on the role of borders, legal provisions, and contact between humans in structuring interactions and movement between Latin America and the US. Gómez Muñoz employs Mark Shiel's geographic approach to film and pays special attention to characters' movements in the spaces that the film depicts. The first part of the paper focuses on boundaries and discrimination practices in the Americas. The second part considers exceptions to the limitations that borders try to impose in the film and examines the potential of transnational love in bridging differences and advancing understanding. Upside Down suggests that people infuse their images of borders and other nations with their own personal and local perceptions. Their transnational/trans-American relationships allow them to draw from different sources and bring disparate practices together for their own and their societies' benefit.

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