Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Original title: Nuovomondo
Italy/France, 2006. Rai Cinema, Respiro, Memento Films Production, Arte France Cinéma, Titti Film, Wild Bunch, Canal+, TPS Star, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Eurimages, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Arte Cofinova, Cofimage 16, Soficinéma, Banque Populaire Images 6, Sofica Europacorp, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali. Screenplay by Emanuele Crialese. Cinematography by Agnes Godard. Produced by Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Fabrizio Mosca. Music by Antonio Castrignanò. Production Design by Carlos Conti. Costume Design by Mariano Tufano. Film Editing by Maryline Monthieux.
Masterful epic, brilliantly capturing the experience of European emigration to America at the turn of the century. It begins in a dirt poor Italian village where the Mancuso family, who don’t even have shoes to call their own, make the decision to pick up and head across the ocean to the New World in pursuit of a better life, years after the head of the household’s twin brother did the same. They are given suits to wear and placed on a ship, where they meet a mysterious woman of undetermined elegance (Charlotte Gainsbourg,in fiery red hair) who needs a husband to enter the United States. After a harrowing journey fraught with a huge set of challenges, the family arrives at Ellis Island only to be put through a whole new series of tests that make them wonder if they really made the best choice in deciding to leave their isolated, rocky home. Director Emanuele Crialese does a terrific job of keeping the stakes high without ever moralizing or becoming strident about the message here; we know that this story is going to be hard, but he sees no need to avoid whimsical flourishes (including some wonderfully wry dream sequences) in order to get the point across. The film is never preachy, but it is always informative, entertaining and vastly moving.
European Film Award Nominations: Best European Director (Emanuele Crialese)
Toronto International Film Festival: 2006
Venice Film Festival Award: Silver Lion Revelatione