Salvatore (Vincenzo Amato) arrives at Ellis Island in Emanuele Crialese's Golden Door.
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Running Time: 120 minutes
The American dream glimmers brightest sometimes in the eyes of those for whom America is only a dream. Salvatore (Vincenzo Amato) and his impoverished Sicilian family in 1904 have heard that America is a place where onions grow to the size of baby carriages, where money grows on trees and rivers run with milk. No wonder they want to travel to the New World. But traveling from their earthy village for the first time to an Italian port city is like visiting another planet for them, and as they move on — to the steerage deck of a great ocean liner, then to Ellis Island — you become more and more alarmed at the prospect of their hopes being dashed. Director Emanuele Crialese is a neorealist with a touch of magical realism to him; he takes his cues from the great art films of the '60s, and from his opening shot of two men climbing a craggy cliff with stones in their mouths to show devotion to God, his gorgeous film offers up a feast of imagery to match the almost boundless optimism of its characters. (Recommended)