Cairo, Illinois is where the Mississippi meets the Ohio, where North meets South. It’s a mythical spot that many like to imagine as the true birthplace of the United States. But it’s also a ghost town whose residents and mayor are fighting for a brighter future. Cairo is just one of the many deserted, tumbledown villages that Belgian filmmaker Sofie Benoot sees on her journey. They all bear the scars of the economic crisis, social unrest or a natural disaster. Strewn along the majestic river down to Louisiana, they are sad reminders of a glorious past: that of the Deep South, the American heartland of myth and legend. Blue Meridian shows the gritty present-day reality of residents united in their fierce struggle for survival and self-preservation. Shot with meticulous attention, this first documentary road movie, shown at the Buenos Aires and Visions du Réel festivals, is remarkable both for its empathy and its ability to probe the very core of American identity.