(Christopher Leitch, 2001)
The importance of this TV film about the notorious and internationally salient dimensions and repercussions of a transnational custody battle over one child cannot be underestimated. The case (which weirdly reprised the narrative of the film Popi; custody battles over orphaned children cast adrift from the national “home”) itself was bitter, divided America, resulted in months of legal stand offs, and had enduring legacies, including the Cuban American support for Bush in Florida, which decided his presidency, a range of far reaching changes to US immigration and international law, and a shift in the US status of the Cuban American community itself, from one embraced and supported by successive US administrations, to one that due to the Elian affair, was transformed into yet one more troublesome Latino and ostensibly non-American constituency, alongside Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. The film catalogues the affair from Cuba to Miami and back, and provides a nuanced depiction of how one child can centre a transnational conflict in which that child bears on his body and unformed subjectivity the weight of competing national claimants, ideologies, and family values and ideals.
This film is being discussed by Dr Angelos Koutsourakis.
To view a clip from this film, click here
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