Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nuovomondo, directed by Emanuele Crialese

One sweaty man inside third class steerage said that a river in California ran with milk. Salvatore said that he could not swim but he would get in that river.

Nuovomondo (marketed in the U.S. as Golden Door) is an incredibly moving film about Italian immigrants leaving the rocks of southern Italy for America, a land of wealth and giant vegetables. I saw the movie with the After Hours Film Society at the beautiful Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove on its large screen. The audience was large and appreciative.

I do not want to spoil the film for you. You should see it. I will just give you the questions Salvatore needs to answer.

  • Should we go to America?
  • How will we get there?
  • Who should we befriend on the way?
  • Will we be able to negotiate Ellis Island?

The questions are tough.

I foresee Nuovomondo being shown to high school history classes for years to come. I hope history teachers learn about the film and accept that it is in Italian with subtitles. Its cinematography is so powerful that it hardly needs any dialogue. Strip off the soundtrack and it will still tell its story.

With so few good films in theaters this summer, it is sad that so few people have the opportunity to see this great Italian film.

The DVD is not yet available. Libraries should buy it when it is.

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