Italy/France, 2006, 112 minutes
Thu, Apr 26 / 07:00 / Castro / OPEN (Film and Party)
Thu, Apr 26 / 07:00 / Castro / OPENV (VIP Film and Party)
Emanuele Crialese’s extraordinary allegorical epic opens in an age of superstition, in a forsaken corner of the Sicilian countryside, as a father and son clamber barefoot up a mountain strewn with sun-bleached rocks toward a sainted shrine, bloody stones held fast in their mouths. And it closes, after an arduous and colorful passage in third-class steerage, in modern times, on Ellis Island, in the shadow of eugenic testing, to the sound of Nina Simone in full-throated glory, at the dawn of the American Century. Crialese’s novel imagining of the journey between these two worlds, from a past left behind to a family transformed, makes for a brilliant reinvention of the emigrant saga, with its heartbreaking themes of hope, sacrifice and forgetting. The steadfast Vincenzo Amato (who starred in the director’s second film, Respiro, SFIFF 2003), an enchanting Charlotte Gainsbourg, luminous here as a lost soul encountered on the Sicilian docks and wryly stubborn matriarch Aurora Quattrocchi anchor a stirring story full of humor and tribulation. Crialese’s genius for capturing large-scale pastoral and urban landscapes as well as intimate, individualized details is ably enhanced by the magnificent cinematography of Agnès Godard, best known for her work with French director Claire Denis. Golden Door is a visionary film, filled with unexpected turns and irrevocable choices. It skillfully brings to life the experience of crossing a momentous threshold, after which nothing will ever be the same.
Sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways. Golden Door is presented in association with the Italian Cultural Institute. The Opening Night party is presented with the generous support of the San Francisco Film Commission.