The story is set at the beginning of the 20th century in Sicily. Salvatore, a very poor farmer, and a widower, decides to emigrate to the US with all his family, including his old mother. ...
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John G. Avildsen
Jean-Claude Van Damme,
The story is set at the beginning of the 20th century in Sicily. Salvatore, a very poor farmer, and a widower, decides to emigrate to the US with all his family, including his old mother. Before they embark, they meet Lucy. She is supposed to be a British lady and wants to come back to the States. Lucy, or Luce as Salvatore calls her, for unknown reasons wants to marry someone before to arrive to Ellis Island in New York. Salvatore accepts the proposal. Once they arrive in Ellis Island they spend the quarantine period trying to pass the examinations to be admitted to the States. Tests are not so simple for poor farmers coming from Sicily. Their destiny is in the hands of the custom officers.Written by
Vincent Schiavelli's character was supposed to be major in the movie; but unfortunately, Schiavelli died during the shooting of the film, and his character became a supporting character. See more »
Madam? Madam. Could you lower your voice? I have a headache.
Then have one! What do I care? Who does she think she is? This is the last thing I need. A journey like this ahead and she has a headache.
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An interesting look at the immigrant experience, told as a fable with some very weird imagery.
I got drawn to this movie because it tells of immigrants from Sicily who traveled to America. I imagine much the same as my Grandfather did at that time. Travelling in steerage to provide ballast for the ships, I cannot imagine it was very comfortable, as shown in this film.
Laws restricting immigrants existed. I would guess that these laws were more strict on those who came from the Mediterranean and Africa. Immigrants had to be free from contagious diseases or hereditary infirmities. In the film, we see physical and mental exams, the latter because of the view that low intelligence is heritable. Single women could not enter the country, on the presumption that they would become prostitutes, so most married single men already in the country, as arranged beforehand, at Ellis Island before entry.
This is the story of a British immigrant (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who arranges to marry a poor Sicilian (Vincenzo Amato). He is trying to get his family through with a son that is mute and a mother (Aurora Quattrocchi) that is considered feeble-minded. She was fantastic in the role, by the way.
You will also see character actor, Vincent Schiavelli, in his next to the last appearance. I don't know if his last film has been released. He plays a matchmaker, and is also very good.
It was a strange, but enjoyable film. It's not for everyone, as I imagine those who don't have some interest in the immigrant experience would find it rather slow.
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