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Nuovomondo|Golden Door

A vast but uneven period piece
By PEG ALOI  |  June 13, 2007
2.0 2.0 Stars
NUOVOMONDO|GOLDEN DOOR: En Route to the New World via an overambitious vision.

Emanuele Crialese’s period piece about Sicilians en route to the New World is vast but uneven. Poor shepherd Salvatore Mancuso (Vincenzo Amato) brings his mother and two sons on a ship bound for Ellis Island, and they share tales with other Italians about coins growing on trees. They’re accompanied by aristocratic Englishwoman Lucy Reed (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who’s been deserted by a suitor and sees in Salvatore a suitable male escort. There are intriguing sequences of seldom-seen realities, like the meetings of pen-pal brides with scary suitors, humiliating medical examinations, and “intelligence” tests designed to weed out eugenic undesirables. Crialese has a jovial eye for detail and, with cinematographer Agnes Godard, he crafts some memorable, moving moments. But the lack of focus on the main characters and some bad artistic choices (like anachronistic songs by Nina Simone) cause the film to slip beneath the waves of its own ambitious vision.
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