The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Film series takes immigration forum beyond United States

Michelle Fordice | Thursday, September 6, 2007

In conjunction with this year’s Notre Dame Forum on Immigration, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center is presenting a sixth-month long cinema series, “Immigration: A Notre Dame Perspective,” featuring films that depict the lives and struggles of immigrants. While the forum’s focus is on the United States, the film series expands to an international level, increasing the context of immigration for participants in the forum. To purchase tickets for all of these films, contact the DPAC ticket office at 574-631-2800. Tickets are $3 for students.

“Dying to Live,” Sept. 6, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Directed by Notre Dame faculty member Reverend Daniel G. Groody, “Dying to Live” is a documentary that interviews Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, theologians, Church and congressional leaders, activists, musicians and the immigrants themselves in order to present a study of immigration that incorporates Catholic conceptions. A reflection guide accompanying the film can be found through the Notre Dame website and Rev. Groody will be at the showing for discussion.

“Romántico,” Sept. 6, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“Romántico” is a documentary portrait of Carmel Muñiz, a 60-year-old Mexican mariachi player who is returning to his family after living in San Francisco for years. Colored by the music Muñiz plays, the film vividly depicts the unhappy choice of many immigrants between supporting their family and actually being with them, as well as the changing nature of crossing the border between the United States and Mexico. “Romántico” was nominated for best picture at both the Sundance and Independent Spirit film festivals.

“The Namesake,” Sept. 20, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“The Namesake,” directed by Mira Nair and based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, follows two generations of the Ganguli family, beginning with the immigration of Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli from India to the United States. Eventually, their children Gogol and Sonia are born. Unlike their parents, the two siblings have little connection with India and struggle with many of their parent’s traditions. Gogol in particular feels hindered by his name, which he feels separates him from the Western society he wants to belong to. As the film progresses, Gogol learns the sig-nificance of his name and begins to find a balance between his home and his heritage. “The Namesake” is in English, Bengali, Hindi, and French with English subtitles.

“El Norte,” Sept. 27, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“El Norte,” an American and British film, is broken into three parts, describing the Guatemalan government’s oppression of the Quiche Indians, the immigrants’ journey from Guatemala to the United States and finally the lives of illegal immigrants once they reach their destination. “El Norte” was the first American independent film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Director Gregory Nava will be present at the screening for discussion with the audience. “El Norte” is in Spanish and Mayan with English subtitles.

“In America,” Oct. 14, 4 p.m.

“In America,” directed by Jim Sheridan, describes the trials of immigration through the eyes of children as it tells the story of Christy and Ariel, two young girls emigrating with their parents from Ireland to New York. While their parents are struck with the difficulties and struggles of immigrating, the girls see the magic and adventure their new country has to offer. Sheridan based the film on his own experiences, writing the screenplay with his two daughters. “In America” was nominated for many awards, including three Oscars, and received 15 wins.

“The Golden Door (Nuovomondo),” Jan. 17, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Set at the beginning of the 20th century, “The Golden Door” illustrates a more historical view of immigration. Italian widower Salvatore Mancuso sets out to move his entire family to the United States. The film focuses on the difficulties of reaching the United States at the time, highlighting the determination of immigrants to reach their destination. Director and writer Emanuele Crialese’s picture won Best Film and both the Venice and Yerevan International Film Festivals. “The Golden Door” is in Italian and English with English subtitles.

“9 Star Hotel,” Feb. 14, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“9 Star Hotel,” an Israeli documentary, depicts immigrants traveling from Palestine into Israel. Thousands of young Palestinian men cross into Israel looking for jobs in construction. “9 Star Hotel” is the nickname for the makeshift huts in the hills outside of the city that these young men live in. The film won the Best Documentary Award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival. “9 Star Hotel” is in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.