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Golden Door (to the New World)

The Seattle International Film Festival featured Golden Door ... a film about immigrating to America in the early 1900s.

An odd mix of fantasy and grit, it brings home this experience of hard transition (and maybe gives one a little more sympathy for those trying to do it today, despite the knotted problems of who pays for what).

My favorite scene was an aerial shot of the crowded deck and the crowded pier ... with the separation of those two masses of people as the boat pulls away from the dock.

Our great-great(-great?) grandparents did a tremendously brave, tremendously difficult thing when they left everything they knew to make a dangerous, dirty trip across the ocean. We need to remember how hard it was and is, and how desperate people are who make this trip.


Blogger Bela said...

I've just seen a trailer for it here:

(that aerial shot is there). It looks wonderful and I really like Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Only one person in my family emigrated to the USA but he was already a rather famous writer by that time so he was lucky not to experience the voyage like those poor immigrants. That was my uncle - my father's brother - and he was born in 1887: it doesn't go back so far. :-)

3:09 PM

Blogger mireille said...

and J, you just answered my grammatical question for me. It should be: the immigrants emigrated, shouldn't it? ♥ xoxo

3:30 PM

Blogger Bela said...

Oh, M, I'm probably the one in the wrong there.

Just found this explanation:
He emigrated from Russia to the United States.
He immigrated to the United States from Russia.

In Russia, he's an emigrant.
In the United States, he's an immigrant.

It is a question of point of view: if you're placing yourself in the country where the people you're talking about are settling then they are 'immigrants'; if not, they are 'emigrants'. As far as my comment is concerned, my use of 'emigrated' is definitely correct (I'm neither in Russia nor in the USA), but I now think I shouldn't have used the word 'immigrants' (I think I was placing myself in the shoes of the American public watching the film and that was probably wrong). I'm sorry for misleading you. I didn't give it enough thought.

5:01 AM

Blogger ariel said...

Bela, thank you for that explanation, I have never realized the difference myself!

very, very courageous people they were. even when it's wrong somewhere, it is easier to just stay and wait for it to get better, even if it never gets better. they were very brave people.

6:51 AM

Blogger TLP said...

Do you remember a movie with Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann, titled The Emigrants? There was a sequel. Both movies really touched me. The hardships in the old country were unbearable, but then the hardships of getting to the new country, and surviving there were hard too.

I do thank my great-whatever who came here. Both my mother's and father's families were very early immigrants to this country. That makes me think that they must have been "have nots" in the United Kingdom, or they would have stayed there.

10:32 AM

Blogger Doug said...

Whether people are desperate when they make the trip or not, welcome. We should probably accept all immigrants who promise their children won't be sanctimonious.

2:44 PM

Blogger Bela said...

You're welcome, Ariel: it's very confusing. I knew the rule and still got it wrong.

TLP, I'm sure I saw The Emigrants, years ago (I love Swedish films) but can't bring it to mind. Would love to see it again.

5:33 AM

Blogger Doug said...

Lapin lapin!

6:05 AM


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