Reviews of Golden Door
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Film qui ressemble quelque peu à Respiro. Tout du moins au niveau de ses thématiques qui sont les mêmes en général. L’importance de la foi, de la croyance, de la religion, la place des hommes et femmes dans une société hiérarchisée. Et en toile de fond, l’espoir avec l’Amérique. Forme de nouvelle Terre promise, de paradis. Mais pour pouvoir l’obtenir, il faut se montrer sous un jour nouveau, oublier tout ce qu’on a appris pour pouvoir renaître en quelque sorte. Comme pour son précédent film, Crialese démontre qu’il maitrise parfaitement l’écriture d’un scénario et le maniement d’une caméra. Un très bon film.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
A lyrical film handsomely filmed and peppered with flights of fancy/surreal imagery to add interest and texture. There’s a feel from the outset that Crialese knows we’ve seen it all before, the voyage of immigrants to a new frontier, and is intent on giving his film a unique combination of elements. It moves slowly and almost wholly concerns itself with the decision to take the plunge, the sea voyage across the Atlantic, and processing upon arrival. The first involves consultation with God and seeing things which present to them as omens urging them on, and postive reinforcement amongst each other. In America they treat you like a king, rivers of milk in California, there is fear but excitement and hope for a better life. The film alerts you to an “I’m not ordinary” claim early on when Salvatore has a strange vision of people clambouring over rocks carrying giant watermelons and carrots. The two young women have assigned husbands to go to, Salvatore is the senior male in the party and is charged with getting the girls there as they are now “good” in other words, still intact. There is the feeling of goodwill and gentleness amongst the family members. In the party is also Angelo, a handsome young man, another young fellow Pietro apparently a deaf mute and the grandmother.
When they arrive at the dock there is great chaos and somehow an Englishwoman (Luce/Lucy) Charlotte Gainsbourg becomes subsumed into their party. The next very interesting scene is when the ship moves off – suddenly all the hubbub dies down and we view from above its silent separation from the stationery crowd standing watching it go, and the equally silent stationery crowd on deck. They look heavenwards in solemn awe at being launched off into the great unknown. This is held for quite a while and is effective. A lot of the filming on the ship is below deck dark and claustrophobic. No one seems to be in charge, or have responsibility for organisation or well being of the passengers. There is often a remoteness about the film – when there is a violent thunder storm no context is provided, only the mass of seething bodies then a sad procession of the living carrying the dead and sick in silence above deck when it has passed. There is no emotion shown, everyone looks just resigned and exhausted and they are only shown from the back. It has a surreal feel at times, soon after this there is a striking scene of black outlined figures against the sky singing a sombre farewell.
Luce is a rather mysterious figure and it is partly revealed what she is after during a conversation with Salvatore. The grandmother is feisty and plays a good part, Luce’s character is willowy and frail, pale and fine against the swarthy Italians and something of a curiosity but she is gradually accepted into the group. There is another departure into artistry during the voyage when we see Luce and . Salvatore swimming in a sea of milk with they black hatted heads bobbing about, arms outstretched.
The processing takes up the last part of the film and is shown in quite meticulous detail, humiliating to some degee but not particularly rough or cruell – there’s rather insulting intelligence tests, health checks and so on, there is one scene were contemporary music is used in a kind of M C Esher scene of the immigrants parading along the walkways inside the immigration building in exaggerated order and unison. This is a moody film and at times it does get a bit tedious I have to say with its tableaux diversions and various indulgences. I didn’t love it, but it was at times beautiful and interesting to watch and had the best black billy goat I’ve ever seen :) (…early on,before they leave the village).