Directed by: #MartinDelCarpio
Short film review by: Brian Penn
The American dream has been a magnet for generations of immigrants as they flock to the States in search of wealth, security and happiness. But it has rarely been a level playing field as many have found to their cost. Aside from the Native contingent to be American is to be an immigrant; so why do such inequities exist in the self-proclaimed land of opportunity?
This thoughtful film by Martin Del Carpio attempts to explain the feelings of an immigrant making a new life. He was himself born in Venezuela but raised in New York and able to draw on very personal and intimate experience.
Stefan Bandic appears as an immigrant in a series of vignettes that contrast sharply within mainly black and white shots. Frames cleverly transpose into colour whenever the stars and stripes are depicted. The immigrant describes how it feels to be an outsider learning a new language, adjusting to a different way of life and his wonderment at seeing snow for the first time. But most of all, his bewilderment in trying to prove he is American and entitled to remain in the country he now calls home. Some arresting visuals stray into abstract territory that give an unnecessary edge of pretension. This occasionally detracts from a deeply affecting portrayal of a stranger in a strange land.
Whilst the film’s focus is America we could substitute any industrialised nation that might attract immigration for a host of reasons. This clash of culture and language is at the forefront of modern life. Refugees risking life and limb to cross the Channel are our future immigrants. The same questions loom into view as they strive for acceptance and not merely tolerance. To cross boundaries in search of a better life is an adventure but still a delicate balance between risk and reward.