By William Brown, Dina Iordanova, Leshu Torchin

(10) 1-9066-7803-0; (13) 978-1-9066-7803-6 (paperback)

£17.99 (paperback), 257 pages

St Andrews Film Studies, 2010


Moving People, Moving Images

Cinema and Trafficking in the New Europe

Human trafficking has long been a subject of cinema. The silent Traffic in Souls used it to titillate and promote reform movements as early as 1913.

Since then, the subject has been revisited at various times and in various contexts. In the past decade, the dramatic rise in migration and the demise of national borders across the ‘new’ Europe have turned human traffic into one of the dominant narratives of contemporary cinema. This study focuses on the current cycle of films that play upon global anxieties about trafficking. Like their subject, the essays in this volume cross national borders to reflect on recent films that depict white slavery, drug trafficking and undocumented labour.

The volume considers trafficking films by internationally renowned directors such as Amos Gitaï (Promised Land), the Dardenne Brothers (Lorna’s Silence), Nick Broomfield (Ghosts), Michael Winterbottom (In This World), Ulrich Seidl (Import/Export). A range of documentary and activist films on the topic are also examined, as well as examples from the realm of popular genres, such as Taken (Pierre Morel, 2008).


William Brown is a Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews. He has published on various topics in various journals and edited collections, including animation: an interdisciplinary journal, New Review of Film and Television Studies, Studies in French Cinema, Studies in European Cinema, The British Cinema Book 3rd Edition (ed. Robert Murphy, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Cinema, Identities and Beyond (eds. Ruby Cheung and David Fleming, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009), and Film Theory and Contemporary Hollywood Movies (ed. Warren Buckland, Routledge, 2009). He is the joint editor of Deleuze and Film (with David Martin-Jones, Edinburgh University Press, 2011), and is seeking publication for a monograph on film theoretical approaches to digital technology and cinema, tentatively entitled Supercinema. He also runs an online blog community, Cinema Salon (, and is an occasional filmmaker.
Dina Iordanova is a native of Bulgaria where she obtained advanced degrees in Philosophy and German. Having since 1990 lived and worked in Canada, the USA, and England, she is now Professor and Chair in Film Studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she founded the Film Studies programme. Today she directs the Centre for Film Studies and the Leverhulme Trust project ‘Dynamics of World Cinema’. Iordanova has published extensively on the cinema of Eastern Europe and the Balkans: with the BFI, she has published The BFI Companion to Eastern European and Russian Cinema (2000), Cinema of Flames (2001) and Emir Kusturica (2002); with Wallflower Press, she has published Cinema of the Other Europe (2003) and Cinema of the Balkans (2006); and she has published New Bulgarian Cinema with College Gate Press (2008). She has edited special issues of Third Text, Framework, South Asian Popular Culture, Kinokultura, as well as the collection Cinema at the Periphery (Wayne State University Press, 2010), on matters of cross-cultural representation and transnational cinema. More recent work is focused on film festivals, business models and global distribution patterns of film. Iordanova created the concept of the Film Festival Yearbook  (FFY) series, which she also publishes through St Andrews Film Studies. She writes a blog,
Leshu Torchin is a Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews. Her research focuses on the use of film, video, and the internet in social advocacy and human rights activism. This interest has fuelled her study, Creating the Witness: Genocide in the Age of Film, Video and the Internet. She has published in a range of journals including Third Text, American Anthropologist, and Film & History, as well as in the edited collection The Image and the Witness: Trauma, Memory, and Visual Culture (eds. Frances Guerin and Roger Hallas, Wallflower Press, 2007).



Part One: Landscapes

Negotiating the Invisible (William Brown)

Foreign Exchange (Leshu Torchin)

Making Traffic Visible, Adjusting the Narrative (Dina Iordanova)

Part Two: Close-Ups


The Bus               

The Guardian Angel

When Mother Comes Home for Christmas

Wesh wesh, qu’est-ce qui se passe?


Spare Parts

Promised Land

Sex Traffic


It’s a Free World…


Love on Delivery and Ticket to Paradise

The Silence of Lorna


Traffic Jam: Film, Activism, and Human Trafficking (Leshu Torchin)




Rowena Santos Aquino, ‘Moving People, Moving Images: Cinema and Trafficking in the New Europe’, Transnational Cinemas, 1:2, 2010, pp. 181-183.

Pamela Donovan, ‘Moving People, Moving Images: Cinema and Trafficking in the New Europe’, Cineaste, Spring 2011, pp. 77-78.

Anyone wanting to learn more about human trafficking through film will be well served by [this book]. It considers films from formal and narrative perspectives, as well as within social and political contexts. Indeed, probably the most important contribution the book makes is in encouraging Western viewers to discover the smaller, quieter films about trafficking.

Timothy E.M. Vine, ‘Book Review: Moving People, Moving Images: Cinema and Trafficking in the New Europe’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 39: 3, 2011, pp.890-891.

Read review.