Don’t Step Across This Line: Crossing Borders in Little Men




border film, borderland, Little Men, Ira Sachs, cosmopolitanism


This article explores the role of borders in contemporary cities and their implications in social stratification in Ira Sachs’ Little Men (2016). Drawing on border theory and its application to film studies, it first situates the movie within the category of the “border film”, insofar as it focuses on New York urban borders and borderlands as a thematic element; and it uses borders narratively in order to explore the social and racial dynamics between an Anglo family—the Jardines—and their Latino tenants—the Calvellis. From this approach, it then explores the narrative and aesthetic strategies by which the film represents the conflict between the families in terms of a simultaneous process of border building— in the case of the adults—and border crossing—in the case of the children. It ultimately contends that the film, by reaffirming the border between the children in the epilogue, questions the notion of equality that underlies the essentially neoliberal myth of the American Dream.


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How to Cite

Buesa, Andrés. 2023. “Don’t Step Across This Line: Crossing Borders in Little Men”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 39 (July):145-62.