Michael Dear interviewed on KJZZ about Border Witness

This writer watched 250 movies about the U.S.-Mexico border. Here’s what he learned

By Lauren Gilger

Listen to the story

The border between the United States and Mexico has long been seen as a place of beauty, of mystery — and of danger.

Today, it’s been militarized and politicized. But, the borderlands weren’t always seen that way, according to Michael Dear.

Dear spent four years traveling along both sides of the border and decided to write his newest book about the region from a different lens: the lens of film.

Dear watched more than 250 movies about the border that span a century for his new book “Border Witness: Reimagining the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands through Film.” And he says he learned a lot about the region through the experience.

He talked with The Show about some of the border films he sees as most important and why he chose to focus on films after a career studying and writing about the border.

The Show logo

In April 2023, KJZZ’s Lauren Gilger interviewed Michael Dear about his new book, Border Witness. 

Listen to the Story

“I wanted to know something about the interior lives of people on the border. And it’s very difficult to get hold of a very clear set of evidence to explain this. One day, after a long period of watching Mexican films and US border films, I thought I have exactly the evidence I need. Because I have 100 years of film, which will get me into the minds of what filmmakers and border people were thinking about at a particular point in time.” — Michael Dear