Customer Review

9 July 2017
This is a great film, in the Eighties/Nineties tradition of telling a story of struggling peasants with naturalist camera work: the landscapes are as important as the main characters, recalling 'K.A.O.S ' and 'Goodnight Goodnight Babylon' of the Taviani Brothers and 'Once Upon A Time in America' by Leone . The yearning of Italians for the USA was worked out in 'Goodnight Babylon' and 'Once Upon A Time in America' , alhough mainly focussing on their stay in America.
'Golden Door' (or 'Nouvomondo', New World, in its original titel for Italy and a few European countries) tells of their final days in Sicily, the ship passage and the stay at Ellis Island.
We get harrowing poverty and superstition among sheepfarmers in a Sicilian village (including a scene in which father and son climb a mountain to ask the Lord for his opinion whether they should emigrate or not'. The central part of the film depicts the ship passage across the Atlantic as widower Salvatore, his mother and his two sons meet the enigmatic English lady Lucy Reed. Salvatore protects Lucy from several leering men on the ship. She takes a liking to him in spite of their cultural difference. In the final part, the immigrants get selected harshly by immigration authorities on the infamous Ellis Island. The medical examinations can't hide the authorities' zeal to protect the USA from too many feeble-minded new citizens.
Director Emanuele Crialese presents this tale in perfect landscapes, excellent acting and imaginative filming. The film includes several dream sequences including one of swimming in a river of milk and shking up a money tree, based on the expectatuons of the USA of a land of milk and honey. The immigrants also pause to make great folk music. The brilliant Nina Simone's `Sinnerman` is heard during the end roll credits.
The film won a raft of awards at the Venice Film Festival of 2007, as well as prizes at film festivals in other countries.
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Product Details

4.5 out of 5 stars