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Golden Door

New York Premiere

Italy | 118 MINUTES | English, French |



The story of European immigrants making the long, exhausting journey to Ellis Island, then submitting themselves to the physical and psychological tests of the day that would unlock America's "golden door," has always been an epic tale. Yet in this emotionally resonant film from N.Y.U. graduate Emanuele Crialese, director of the acclaimed Respiro: Grazia's Island, there is a feeling of being on intimate terms with the characters as they make their momentous turn-of-the-century voyage to the New World. A poor man from rural Sicily, Salvatore (Vincenzo Amato) decides his family must emigrate to America. Against his mother's wishes, he sells his livestock and buys shoes and clothes for himself and his sons. Joining them on the harrowing voyage in third-class steerage aboard a tremendously overcrowded ship are a pair of village girls betrothed to men they have never seen in America, and a mysterious, well-spoken Englishwoman, Lucy (Charlotte Gainsbourg), traveling solo. The emotional tension builds as they at last approach the new land, rendered invisible by a shroud of thick fog, and debark on Ellis Island. The film, visually striking throughout, is layered with Salvatore's animated fantasies of America as a land of miracles with enormous vegetables and money growing on trees. Italy's 2006 Oscar® submission and winner of six awards at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, this is a must-see.