Ellene Phufas asks:
> What are your thoughts and comments concerning the role of film in
> depicting immigrants and or refugees? Along the same line, what are
> your favorite and/or worst films depicting such?
How far back do you want to go? Are you interested in such roles only
in and/or outside the U.S.?
You have the interesting (if not always "good") treatment of such
groups from "classic" Hollywood (itself largely run by immigrants or
the children of immigrants):
Griffith's BROKEN BLOSSOMS, Chaplin's THE PILGRIM, stuff like TENAMENT
SYMPHONY and the short THE HOUSE I LIVE IN with Frank Sinatra, and many
others, including Don Bluth's deracinated mouse in AN AMERICAN TAIL and
FIEVEL GOES WEST. (Look for stock character actors like S.Z. "Cuddles"
Elia Kazan's autobiographical AMERICA AMERICA
Post-Holocaust films about survivors in America, from THE PAWNBROKER to
I.B. Singer's story ENEMIES: A LOVE STORY
There are the very intersting films that have been coming out of the
Indian/Pakistani communities in Britain, including MY BEAUTIFUL
LAUNDRETTE, SAMMY AND ROSIE GET LAID, MY SON THE FANATIC, and (most
recently) EAST IS EAST.
Besides the GODFATHER cycle, Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA does
an interesting twist on the gangster film, this time mostly with Jewish
immigrants. (You could throw in James Coburn's immigrant Irish
revolutionary in DUCK, YOU SUCKER/A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE, set in Mexico.)
Life in Brooklyn among Russian gangsters in LITTLE ODESSA.
In addition to all their other troubles, the Irish have had to contend
with sentimentalization in stuff from GOING MY WAY to FAR AND AWAY.
The Chinese have received attention in THE JOY LUCK CLUB, THE WEDDING
BANQUET, and independent films like CHAN IS MISSING. One of the most
interesting indies is Tony Chan's COMBINATION PLATTER, which brings out
divisions within the immigrant community.
Minnesota State U, Mankato
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