20th Century and New World

Topics: Sicily, 20th century, Nuovomondo Pages: 3 (830 words) Published: April 24, 2011
NUOVOMONDO (Golden Door) by Emanuele Crialese, 2006.
Nuovomondomeans “New wolrd” in Italian, but its English title, Golden Door, has been taken from Emma Lazarus poem about the Statue of Liberty. This is in fact an immigrants’ tale from Sicily to Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century. In a desolate corner of the Sicilian countryside, a family’s apparently changeless life of hardship and toil is interrupted by tales of the New World and its inhabitants, of the riches of this paradise. Salvatore makes the momentous decision to sell all he has – his land, his home, his livestock – and to take his children and aged mother to a better life across the ocean. As Salvatore embarks on his epic journey, he meets a mysterious English woman, Lucy and their destinies begin to entwine as, amid a harrow crossing, a love story begins to unfold. To become citizens of the New World, they must die a little and be reborn and ready to go across the Golden Door.  Please make comments to the following points:

1) What was the role of religion and how was it perceived by the peasants? Religion is integrated into the film as a symbol for faith, freedom, and promise.

In the opening scenes Salvatore and one his sons climb a rough, rocky mountain with stones in their mouths as a sacrifice to god once they get to the top. Praying for divine inspiration, they are shown photos of this “new world” where money grows on trees and chickens are larger than men. Finding this signal to go, Salvatore packs up all his belongings and his family for their voyage to this new and mysterious land. Religion is interpreted ubiquitously through various signs which the peasants like Salvatore believe in because they have very little to fall back upon in such poor economic conditions.

Golden Door reflects early twentieth century rural Sicily, where poverty, ignorance and superstition blended with the age-old rituals in the Mediterranean. Ancestral deity of peasant religiosity are perpetuated...
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