Golden Door

Film

Drama

migrate.28367.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
Rate this
 

Time Out says

Tue Jun 26 2007

The poster for this moving and poetic Italian film about Sicilian immigrants coming to America at the turn of the twentieth century offers a glimpse of a sight that director Emanuele Crialese never shows us: the skyline of a nascent New York City. It was probably a financial decision as much as a creative one to detain us indoors – or, at least, on-deck – from the moment a packed and creaking ship slides away from the quay at Palermo until the film’s end in the detention centre on Ellis Island (actually filmed in an old hotel in Buenos Aires). Nevertheless, this hermetic approach proves particularly powerful when a group of Italian men awaiting approval from US immigration clamber on to a window-sill and peer across the Hudson, describing their view of huge ‘church towers’ in the distance. We share their sense of wonder, but the view of the city’s skyscrapers is all theirs to enjoy.

But it’s our turn to feel displaced first as the film opens in Sicily and peasants Salvatore (Vincenzo Amato) and his young son Angelo Mancuso (Francesco Casisa) climb a barren, cloud-hugged hill, each with a stone clasped between his jaws, to consult a weather-beaten crucifix as to whether they should venture to the New World or not. It’s a mysterious scene, steeped in both historical and cultural distance, that’s graced with a striking, overhead approach to photography to which cinematographer Agnès Godard returns several times, not least for a fantastic shot of the ship leaving the dock in Sicily in an echo of the wider separation to come. By then, Salvatore and Angelo, along with Salvatore’s stubborn mother, Fortunata (Aurora Quattrocchi) and his mute other son, Pietro (Filippo Pucillo), have been persuaded to cross the Atlantic by the allure of trick photos of giant chickens and trees that grow money. On board, an attraction strikes up between Salvatore and Lucy (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a lone English-woman, whose reasons for joining the throng remain unclear.Crialese indulges the rituals and privations of migration, blending telling human detail with more impressionistic moments: Pietro bids farewell to a cow; the groan of the ship haunts the journey; and Salvatore dreams one night of floating in milk with Lucy and hanging on to a floating giant carrot, so conflating in a poetic vision two myths relating to life in the New World – that there are lakes of milk and that vegetables are big beyond belief.

The final scenes in Ellis Island – involving tests of intelligence and marriages of convenience – are superbly choreographed, and Crialese shows a deft ability to flit between the ensemble and the personal. The experience of the Mancuso family remains central, but the director never loses sight of the experience of an entire generation of his compatriots. His film stands as smart testimony to their journeys.
0

Reviews

Add +

Release details

UK release:

Fri Jun 29, 2007

Duration:

118 mins

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|6
1 person listening
Nadia

I seem to be alone in finding this a bit pedestrian - it appears to be a fairly simple telling of an Italian family emigrating to America in the 19thC (?), and I'm not sure anything interesting enough is done with the subject-matter. I found the land of gold and milk day-dreams clod-hopping and Charlotte Gainsbourg has never struck me. I would be happy to be shown otherwise, admittedly I am not versed in cinematic lexiconography, and possibly he is doing interesting things photographically or with detail. But for me personally I feel there is a lack of intellectual stimulation.

Jan May

A mesmerising film. Underlying the sparse dialogue the director creates a subtle tension between the characters that keeps you as engaged in their fortunes as a Bronte novel. Some jaw-droppingly original moments in non-CGI photography make the film worth seeing if nothing else. And don't let the fact that it's subtitled put you off as the movie tells it's own story. It's a classic.

Jan May

A mesmerising film. Underlying the sparse dialogue the director creates a subtle tension between the characters that keeps you as engaged in their fortunes as a Bronte novel. Some jaw-droppingly original moments in non-CGI photography make the film worth seeing if nothing else. And don't let the fact that it's subtitled put you off as the movie tells it's own story. It's a classic.

sheila hughes

A near masterpiece embracing astonishing cinematography and the experience of being with the characters throughout the film, climbing the ragged hill feeling the pain of their bleeding feet ,the hardship of the ship,the swimming in milk ,their simplicity I could go on and on. The scene where Lucy and Salvatore glance at each other between the ships funnels is a beautiful potrayal of the flickerings of love. I pay homage to Crialese.

sheila hughes

A near masterpiece embracing astonishing cinematography and the experience of being with the characters throughout the film, climbing the ragged hill feeling the pain of their bleeding feet ,the hardship of the ship,the swimming in milk ,their simplicity I could go on and on. The scene where Lucy and Salvatore glance at each other between the ships funnels is a beautiful potrayal of the flickerings of love. I pay homage to Crialese.