Archive of films The Golden Door / Nuovomondo

Italy / France
2006, 112 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2007

Beginning of the 20th century. Villager Salvatore decides to sell what little he owns and leaves with his children and aging mother for America. This is the story of one of thousands of emigrants who left Italy in the hope that, in this promised land, they would find work and a livelihood for their families. The filmmaker tells his tale with an unusual sense for historical detail, and also for the psychology of Sicilian country folk, bound by a thousand years of superstition and traditions. This he does with such rare imagination that the film won the Silver Lion in Venice 2006 as Discovery, even though Golden Door is not a first film.


Sicily, beginning of the 20th century. The widowed but still young villager Salvatore is determined to believe the stories of prosperity awaiting him in distant America, and he decides to sell what little he has and leaves with his children and his aging mother on a journey to the promised land. Before the family sets foot on the boat along with hundreds of other emigrants, Salvatore makes the acquaintance of a well-dressed young woman who speaks to him in English and claims that she is an Englishwoman of noble descent… The true identity of Lucy remains a mystery but it is clear that she knows how to use her charms. In the next chapter of the film, describing the dreadful voyage, Salvatore defends Lucy against invectives from other passengers while gradually succumbing to her magic. The third part documents their arrival on Ellis Island, scenes which are shrouded in fog reminiscent of Fellini’s And the Ship Sails On. As soon as the emigrants step onto dry land, they are subjected to a series of examinations and tests to determine whether they are fit enough to pass through the “Golden Door”.

About the director

Emanuele Crialese (b. 1965, Sicily) moved to the USA in 1991 in order to study film direction at New York University. He graduated in 1995 and, after the short film Heartless (1994), he made the feature film Once We Were Strangers in 1997 which was invited for screening at Sundance. In 1999 he was involved as screenwriter on the Ellis Island project. He won the International Critics’ Week at Cannes in 2002 with Respiro. The film was subsequently distributed to over 30 countries, it was screened at KVIFF 2003 and won a series of awards. The Golden Door, one of the best films to come out of Italy over the last decade, won the Silver Lion in Venice in 2006 as “Revelation”.


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About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Screenplay: Emanuele Crialese
Dir. of Photography: Agnès Godard
Music: Antonio Castrignano
Editor: Maryline Monthieux
Producer: Alexandre Mallet-Guy
Production: Memento Films Production
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vincenzo Amato, Aurora Quattrocchi, Francesco Casisa, Filippo Puccillo
Contact: Wild Bunch

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