THE GOLDEN DOOR
Starring: Vincenzo Amato, Charlotte
Quattrocchi, Francesco Casisa,
Filippo Pucillo, Vincent
Schiavelli, Federica de Cola,
and Isabella Ragonese
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 117 minutes
Distributor: Miramax Films/Buena Vista
Distribution Company/The Walt
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Executive Producer: Bernard Bouix and Tommaso
Producer: Emanuele Crialese, Alexandre
Mallet-Guy and Fabrizio Mosca
Writer: Emanuele Crialese
Address Comments To:Daniel Battsek, President
(A Division of Buena Vista Distribution Company/The Walt Disney Company)
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 and (917) 606-5500
Fax: (323) 822-4216
The movie opens with Salvatore Mancuso and his older son, Angelo, picking their way barefoot along a rocky Sicilian hillside to put rocks of devotion under a Christian cross while they pray. Salvatore wants to leave Sicily and go to America where, some phony postcards later suggest, giant vegetables flourish and money grows on trees. He asks God for a sign.
A dubious sign (the postcards) appears, so Salvatore packs up his two sons and his superstitious mother, stopping along the way to get some rumpled fancy clothes and shoes for himself and his two sons. They take along two girls from their village, who have been promised to unmarried American men. At the bustling Italian docks, they encounter a stranded Englishwoman, Lucy, who is trying to go with the Italian immigrants so she too can get to America.
On the ship, Salvatore strikes up a friendship with Lucy, who speaks fluent Italian. Attracted to the noble Salvatore, Lucy nevertheless considers several proposals from a matchmaker on the ship to marry a rich man.
Once at Ellis Island, Lucy and Salvatore and his family are subjected to a series of medical tests and IQ tests to see if they are worthy to enter the land of flowing milk (images of Salvatore swimming in a river of milk symbolize the promise of America and the New World).
GOLDEN DOOR, which is more appropriately titled NEW WORLD in its home country, is an evocative foreign movie that is both lyrical and realistic at the same time. Vincenzo Amato holds the movie together with his performance as Salvatore, but Charlotte Gainsbourg as Lucy, though good, might have used a better-written character.
Brief female and male nudity earned GOLDEN DOOR a PG-13 rating. The worldview is primarily Christian and has a generally positive attitude about America, though the character of Salvatore's mother displays some pagan superstition and the American authorities at Ellis Island have their own superstitions about race and intelligence.
GOLDEN DOOR (more appropriately titled NEW WORLD in its home country) is an evocative foreign movie that is both lyrical and realistic at the same time. Vincenzo Amato holds the movie together with his performance as Salvatore. The worldview is primarily Christian and has a generally positive attitude about America, but there is brief male and female nudity and a couple references to pagan, occult superstitions.