After acknowledging his own immigrant background, Malle, tries to present the range of immigrant experiences in the US during the 1980's. In an attempt to be comprehensive, the film ... See full summary »
After acknowledging his own immigrant background, Malle, tries to present the range of immigrant experiences in the US during the 1980's. In an attempt to be comprehensive, the film includes interviews with migrant workers and illegal entrants along the Mexican border, conversations with an enterprising Indian motel owner, coverage of industrious African and Asian families in the cities, an extensive interview with the first Costa Rican astronaut, visits with Cuban exiles in Miami, several conversations with West Indian poet Derek Walcott, an extended portrait of the deposed Nicaraguan General Samoza (the surviving brother of Anastasio Somoza Debayle) and his extended family. The film finishes with a brief visit to the Russian Jewish community in Brooklyn, NY to tie in with the centenary of the Statue of Liberty. Written by
Louis Malle became an American citizen before he made this film in the US. As an emigrant, he naturally finds it interesting to document the views of first generation emigrants and the views of older generation of emigrants on the newer generation. This film was shown as part of the Malle retrospective at the ongoing 11th International Film Festival of Kerala, India.
Malle needs to be complimented on truthful recordings even if the boom gets into the camera's vision at times. But his choice of individuals is suspect--Derek Walcott (an intellectual); a good, well-meaning US emigration official at the Mexico border (providing transparent propaganda footage); Latin American dictator General Somoza's kin; and a Cuban lady who teaches her pet dog English just as the hundreds of specialized schools in the US teach English to new emigrants earlier in the film. It makes you wonder if Malle has his tongue firmly in his cheek. If so, it is interesting. If not, the film is at best an average effort by a great filmmaker.
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