Monday, December 12, 2005


In the realm of political films, things that make "film" exciting to me often tend to get tossed aside in favor of loyalty to a cause, or contempt for some kind of social condition. That doesn't necessarily make them unsuccessful, it just makes me want to avoid them most of the time. I prefer when art attempts to make statements that aren't bound to a specific time period or location.

Lamerica sometimes threatens to cross the line of dating itself, but overall is a very good humanist film. The title is a play on words; the journey of Italian immigrants to America at the turn of the century is compared to poor Albanians trying to get into Italy, which is "America" to them. The performances are mostly very good and the final scene is powerful. I'm not entirely sure what political statement director Gianni Amelio is attempting to make; it seems more likely that, while visiting the Albanian people, he lost track of whatever agenda he had and decided to simply portray an empathy for human suffering. Because of that, Lamerica will be worth watching in 50 years, like the neo-realist films of the 40s are today.


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