1921. An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.
1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulska and her sister Magda sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, she quickly falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. And then one day, Ewa encounters Bruno's cousin, the debonair magician Orlando. He sweeps Ewa off her feet and quickly becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself. Written by
James Gray told that he was watching Giacomo Puccini's opera 'Il Trittico' [directed by William Friedkin in 2008] and crying, and said to his wife: 'You know, they don't make movies about women anymore, like the old ones with Barbara Stanwyck and Greer Garson.' And she said: 'Why don't you make one?'. So Gray wrote a role for Marion Cotillard similar to Puccini's sin-haunted nun Sister Angelica. Gray also used his own family's history, the movie is also based on the experiences told to the director by his grandparents who were Russian immigrants who came through Ellis Island in 1923. See more »
When at the church, Ewa makes the "sign of the cross" with the left hand several times. See more »
[standing in line at Ellis Island speaking Polish]
We're almost there.
The doctors are looking, try to hold it in. You're just nervous. That brings it on. Try to close your ears and say a prayer, to the Mother of God.
We'll find Aunt Edyta soon, and we'll be safe. We'll be together. We'll make our own families, have lots of children.
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What a beautiful story it was, a sad story of that girl Ewa, full of hope arriving in a strange country with the believe that she and her sister will be welcomed by their family! And the desperation and fear when bit by bit her hope and faith gets challenged by the bitterness of "the American dream", the bitterness of being immigrants without money or relatives, connections... Marion is amazing, she acts with her eyes, her face tells it all, she actually doesn't need words... She makes Ewa a very fragile looking "girl" but with an amazing survival-instinct .. Joacquin was charming, frightening, sad, and at the end pitiful..a very dark character, despicable and yet tragic... When Jeremy comes into the story, his character adds a lot of tension with great interaction with Joacquin and Marion; repressed emotions, boyish charm , impulsiveness combined with darkness. He was really really excellent, I loved his performance.. Gray did an awesome job by building up the story the way he did, with very beautiful images, images in those amazing soft yellow ocher colors , that show us a world of those who are "damned " with very rare beacons of light... The end scene, that ending shot , was so amazing, so beautiful ! And I loved the soundtrack.
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