Reading, Watching, Listening: The Immigrant | The Common Creative: Reading, Watching, Listening: The Immigrant

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Reading, Watching, Listening: The Immigrant

 I'm writing this confined to my bed as I've been for the past two and a half days. It's definitely not a whole lot of fun being ill. I mean sometimes it's nice to be able to give yourself a break for a day and watch movies in bed, but when it turns into two and then three...well, it's not so nice anymore. It all started this past Saturday evening, after M and I went on a date to see The Immigrant in theatres. Now, I'm hoping it wasn't the movie that made me sick, because I actually did enjoy it. (Minus the $11 snack of popcorn and m&m's. How did I not realize beforehand that movie popcorn is ridiculously overpriced?!?)
I hardly feel qualified to write decent and comprehensive reviews for films beyond personal opinion, but I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts for you today. As soon as I saw the trailer for this film, I was intrigued. I'm a huge sucker for historically based pieces- they definitely draw me in. I think it's something about the aesthetics. I'm such a visual person and history displays a beautiful aesthetic in so many ways.  
While this film is beautiful, it is not lighthearted. It's a historical drama in the purest sense about a Polish woman, Ewa and her sister immigrating to America. Upon arrival, the sister is diagnosed with Tuberculosis and deemed not fit to enter the country. They confine her to an infirmary for 6 months before her suggested deportation. The basis of the film is Ewa's struggle to find the money to buy her sister out so they can make a life for themselves in a new country. The story also follows Ewa's relationship with her new-found employer Bruno and his cousin, Orlando. 
The film deals with heavy subjects and complicated relationships. Bruno has both charmed and manipulated Ewa into a life of prostitution and self-loathe. Orlando has a different outlook on life, but lives in a tangled web of both love & loyalty and his need to earn income. Although Ewa is a strong willed, intelligent woman, her desperate love for her sister allows her to fall prey to Bruno's ways in order to buy her sister out. The story follows her need to survive and her discovery of self in a new land as she develops complicated relationships with each of the characters. 
While I enjoyed the film and found it interesting, I found it difficult to understand the relationships that were formed between Ewa, Bruno and Orlando. I think that part of it was the fact that I have no context for what it was like to be immigrating to America in the early 20th century, let alone having been forced into prostitution. Despite this, the way it was portrayed did end up giving me a better understanding of the hardships that immigrants faced in that era (and still face, today!). Also, the imagery throughout the film made it fascinating to watch and made me question what the purpose of each shot was. The images created seemed to relate directly to the inner emotions of the character, which I appreciated. 
Overall, I found this to be an incredibly interesting and thought-provoking film. I think that it's something that I would find enjoyable to discuss with others and hear their opinions on the outcome. So, if you get a chance, go watch it, come back here and share your thoughts on the movie in the comment section below (but just don't buy movie popcorn slathered in butter and salt. It really isn't worth it)! It might just make my day a whole lot better as I lay here helpless in bed.


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