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Culture & Art

The Darker Corners of the American Dream

James Gray’s The Immigrant offers a glimpse into the seldom told story of 1920’s US immigrants’ struggles. The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 16, 2014.

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Joaquin Phoenix ,    James Gray

The American dream can sometimes become a nightmare – but in the land of endless possibilities, you can never know what tomorrow may bring. That is the premise of screenwriter/director James Gray’s acclaimed new period drama, The Immigrant.

The 1920’s-set film, starring Marion Cottliard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner, tells the story of Ewa (Cottliard), a Polish woman who comes to America with her ill sister in the hope of bettering their lives. After her sister is sent to quarantine, Ewa comes to rely on Bruno (Pheonix), a deceptively charming man who promises to re-unite her with her beloved sister, while introducing her to the world of prostitution.

Believing his claim that with the money earned she will be able to free her sister, Ewa begins her journey into the dark paths of an American nightmare. When she later meets Orlando (Renner), Bruno’s magician cousin who falls for her, the disillusioned Ewa – finally encountering a tiny beacon of light – is hopeful that he may have a trick or two up his sleeve, that would help set her on a new journey towards a happy ending.

The film, which premiered at last year’s Cannes festival, has garnered rave reviews and is considered a candidate for next year’s Oscars. Jordan Hoffman of called it “the best movie of its kind since Elia Kazan”, while Time Out New York’s Keith Uhlich hailed it as “a miracle achieved. A great movie rising before me – like a delusion, like a dream”.

The Immigrant Joaquin Phoenix ,    James Gray

In an interview with IndieWire’s Nigel M. Smith, The Jewish-Russian descent director, whose grandparents immigrated to the US in 1923, talked about his personal connection to the film. “I guess it was a process where I was trying to understand why my family is that way that it is”, he explained. “Why our interactions are the way that they are, and in doing so, explore a bit of the background of what it meant to come to the United States from another country”.
The Immigrant is a Gray’s fourth consecutive collaboration with Oscar Nominee actor Joaquin Phoenix – who was born to a Jewish mother whose parents were also immigrants.

The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 16, 2014.

James Gray made his first film, Little Odessa (1994), at the age of twenty-five. The film received critical acclaim and was the winner of the Venice Film Festival’s prestigious Silver Lion Award in 1994. His second film, The Yards (2000) was selected for official competition at the 2000 Cannes International Film Festival, and his fourth film, We Own the Night (2007), played in competition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Joaquin Phoenix started his career as a child actor, following the paths of his siblings – most notably, the deceased film star River Phoenix. He has received numerous Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for films such as “Gladiator”, the Johnny Cash biographical film “Walk the Line”, “The Master”, and most recently, Spike Jonze’s “Her”.





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