The images and voices of characters challenged by change and adversity—personal, political, social, and above all, cultural—are expressed in these immigrant tales where, by recognizing the challenges of the outsider, we ultimately see ourselves.
Each session runs approximately two-and-a-half (2½) hours.
Thu, Mar 13
The Immigrant (1917), starring Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance and Eric Campbell. Chaplin’s silent short comically shows the gallantry of sweet romance between two immigrant souls comforted by each other on an ocean crossing.
I Remember Mama (1948), starring Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes, Oskar Homolka, Philip Dorn, Ellen Corby, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Rudy Vallee and Edgar Bergen. One of the great immigrant comedy dramas, director George Stevens takes the heartwarming experiences of a Norwegian family in San Francisco during the early 1900s and shows us without cheap sentiment the loving ties that bind them. Based on Kathryn Forbes’s fictionalized memoir, this film offered Irene Dunne her last great screen role in Mama and gave Oskar Homolka as Uncle Kris one of the most poignant death scenes in American cinema.
Thu, Mar 20
My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Gordon Warnecke, Saeed Jaffrey and Shirley Anne Field. Director Stephen Frears captures the mood of Thatcher’s England in the lives and love affair of a street punk and his Pakastani boyfriend as they extend their détente by opening a laundromat. From a screenplay by Hanif Kureishi, this film put Frears on the map and made a star out of Daniel Day-Lewis.
Thu, Mar 27
In America (2002), starring Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Sarah Bolger, Emma Bolger and Djimon Hounsou. Jim Sheridan’s semi-autobiographical tale of an Irish actor who moves his family to Hell’s Kitchen in the 1980s as he pursues his career shows us the binding strength of family love and the love of those they encounter and accept into their circle. A truly beautiful and limpid story.
Thu, Apr 3
House of Sand and Fog (2003), starring Ben Kingsley, Jennifer Connelly, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Ron Eldard and Frances Fisher. One of the great films of the aughts, Vadim Perelman’s debut film, based on André Dubus III’s novel, is a tragedy of the American Dream. With every good intention, and every bartered compromise, Massoud Behrani seeks to establish his family’s life in America after the Iranian revolution only to cross paths with a young woman, broken by life and recovering from addiction, who changes his destiny. Kingsley is magnificent as Behrani and Shohreh Aghdashloo, as his wife Nadi, is luminous.
Thu, Apr 10
The Edge of Heaven (2007), starring Hannah Schygulla, Tuncel Kurtiz, Baki Davrak, Patrycia Ziolkowska and Nurgül Yesilçay. German-Turkish director Fatih Akin’s film about the encounters in our lives that change our destiny speaks beyond our differences the basic human needs that connect all of us in love and death. A young German Turk goes back to Turkey to fulfill his father’s promise just as a German mother arrives there to retrace her recently killed daughter’s political activities. Both have become part of each other’s lives and have yet to learn how much. Fate becomes the unifying fraternity that binds us all in this great cosmic parable.
Subscribe and Save! These events can be purchased together as part of the following subscription: Class Package: The Immigrant Experience in Movies.
Andrew Dickos is the author of Street with No Name: A History of the Classic American Film Noir and Intrepid Laughter: Preston Sturges and the Movies. His third book, Abraham Polonsky: Interviews, came out last winter from the University Press of Mississippi.
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