Golden Door (Nuovomondo) (PG-13)

Drama 120 June 15, 2007
By Jean Oppenheimer
An aural and visual feast, The Golden Door is Emanuele Crialese's poetic tale of a Sicilian peasant family's emigration at the turn of the 20th century. Winner of the Silver Lion at last year's Venice Film Festival, the fable follows an illiterate farmer (a wonderfully expressive Vincenzo Amato), his mother, and two adult sons who, after seeing doctored photographs of money growing on trees and gargantuan vegetables, set their sights on America. Clinging to their meager belongings as tightly as they do their Old World superstitions, they board the ship, shadowed by a mysterious English woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Arriving at Ellis Island, bewildered passengers are treated like animals, poked, prodded, and interrogated by an assembly line of white-coated doctors intent on weeding out "undesirables." The film is a portrait gallery of faces, its long stretches of silence broken only by sounds of nature: the braying of donkeys, wind sweeping across rocky hillsides, the moaning of the ship as it lurches forward. With dialogue kept to a minimum, cinematographer Agnès Godard does not disappoint, confirming her status as one of the most extraordinary visual artists working today.
Emanuele Crialese Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vincenzo Amato, Francesco Casisa, Ernesto Mahieux, Andrea Prodan, Filippo Pucillo, Aurora Quattrocchi, Vincent Schiavelli, Federica De Cola Emanuele Crialese Alexandre Mallet-Guy Miramax Films

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