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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Golden Door

Posted on Thu, Jul 5, 2007 at 4:00 AM

****
Golden Door
Studio: Miramax
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vincenzo Amato
Director: Emanuele Crialese
WorkNameSort: Golden Door
Our Rating: 4.00
With the illegal-immigration issue seemingly at its peak of contention, it seems a fitting time to release Golden Door. It concerns a boatload of Italian immigrants trying to enter the United States via Ellis Island at the turn of the century and the absurd intelligence tests that await them in the exhaustive quarantine process. It's slow going at first, but it's the most visionary piece of work I've seen all year. Filmmaker Emanuele Crialese doesn't just direct the movie ' he lives it, imbuing every image with an original and personal stamp. Content and form play off each other in glorious harmony. Employing dialogue only when absolutely necessary, Crialese realizes that how a story is told should be as interesting as the story itself. He uses magical realism to stunning effect, creating images such as a vast river of milk and a tree that spits coins like a slot machine, perfect metaphors for the immigrants' idealized visions of America. Some of the techniques Crialese utilizes are not completely without precedent ' the films of Wong Kar-Wai and Theo Angelopoulos come to mind ' but thanks to the director's own mix of fantasy and social commentary, there's nothing quite like Golden Door. (PG-13)

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