Tag: immigration.


July 21st, 2015 — 7:36pm

****Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 10.19.17 AM

Samba-sp (In French with English subtitles)

Among the political issues currently debated in the United States as well in other countries throughout the world is how to deal with illegal or undocumented immigrants. This is the main focus of this French film written and directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano starring Omar Sy. This trio got together to make Intouchable in 2011 which became the second biggest box office hit in French history. It also did very well in the United States

Omay Sy in the current film plays Samba, an immigrant from Senegal, who has been living in France for 10 years. He, like many other people who don’t have proper citizenship papers must live in the shadows and are susceptible to arrest and deportation. Samba is discovered and temporarily placed in a detention center where he meets Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a young executive who was trying to stabilize her life by doing volunteer work in this facility. Samba is released with the expectation that he will go back to his home country. It is at this point in the film that we see him and other people in similar situations as they struggle to get illegal identification papers, procure jobs ranging from working in restaurants, hotel kitchens, cleaning windows in high-rise buildings or even just doing day labor. We get an insight into the painful life of trying to survive in this environment often while sending money home to their families.

Although they are coming from different places in life, Samba and Alice are drawn to each other and these wonderful actors create a very real chemistry between them. Even though we felt this 118-minute film could have been shortened and tied together a little better, the result is clearly a very interesting, enjoyable and thought provoking movie. We came away from it having empathy for the determination of a long line of undocumented immigrants who struggle for years to try to stay in their chosen country and become legitimate for themselves and ultimately for their children. Obviously, there are other points of view on this complicated political and social issue. However, if this movie reaches even half the audience that the last collaboration of this writer/director and star did, it will stand a chance of significantly influencing the great debate on immigration. (2015)


Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Foreign


January 16th, 2010 — 2:00am

Amreeka* * *
– rm – A divorced Palestinian women and her 16 year old son get an answer to a request made several years previously allowing them to emigrate to the United States . They move to middle America to live with her sister and her physician husband who have three children. The time period is just after the United States has invaded Iraq and the mood of the United States and their Illinois community appears to be a generalized anti-Arab feeling. There is taunting of the children in school and the doctor’s patients are leaving his practice. The difficulties of this new immigrant and her son to adjust to a new country with problems for the mother of getting a good job and conflicts in school for the teenager could have been the tribulations of other groups at other times. The story line only briefly reflects upon the Palestinian-Israeli issues and there is a suggestion of hope for future relationships in the appearance of kindly Jewish principal who befriends the struggling Palestinian women who is trying to make it in America. This is a somewhat simple film that is not done badly and is a story worth telling. (2009)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Frozen River

November 7th, 2009 — 1:16am

* * * * *
Frozen River
– nf – Set in northern New York state at the icy cold Canadian border, this painful movie will hold your attention every second. It is about two women. One is a white women trying to survive with her two children and barely making ends meet, played by Melissa Leo in an Oscar nominated performance. The other is a widowed Mohawk woman from the reservation who is desperate to get her son back from her mother- in law and will also need money to survive. They become involved in smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States across the frozen river. There is tension mixed with real human struggles. The movie doesn’t make one false step. We can’t think how they could have done it better. It is directed and written by Courtney Hunt who received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay. There is no joy in watching this film but it is very good! 2008

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

Crossing Over

November 7th, 2009 — 12:41am

* * * * *

Crossing Over – sp – If you liked the movie Crash, you will love this movie. The movie weaves several plots which reflect the conflicts and the human drama of the immigration problems on our borders today. Harrison Ford plays a sensitive immigration officer who can not ignore the painful situations which are being played out before his eyes. Outstanding performances by Ford, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd and Jim Sturgess. We are surprised this movie was released so early in the year since in our book it could be a contender for best picture. 2009

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

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