Opening borders, framing identities: The ‘return to Europe’ in Jan Gogola’s České Velenice Evropské

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© The Author(s) 2015. In 2004, eight formerly communist East Central European states acceded to the European Union, an event which was celebrated as the final overcoming of the post-war division of Europe into East and West and the ‘return to Europe’ of those states which had been ‘kidnapped’ by the Soviet Union. To mark the accession, an Austrian film production company commissioned five East Central European directors to make short documentary films under the collective title Über die Grenze: Fünf Ansichten von Nachbarn (Across the Border: Five Views From Neighbours). Drawing on geopolitical analysis of the dichotomy of Europe and Eastern Europe which underpinned the European Union enlargement discourse, this paper examines the Czech episode České Velenice Evropské as a film which explores the ways in which borders have been conceptualized and identities (re)framed in the context of European Union enlargement. At the moment when the Central European states’ symbolic ‘return to Europe’ is being realized, director Jan Gogola reflects on the meaning of European Union accession for Central Europeans, on shifting borders and their implications for the construction and understanding of identities of self and other, and on the dynamics of openness and closure in Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-136
JournalJournal of European Studies
Issue number2
Early online date19 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


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