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Mythically proportioned and full of rugged realism as well as unforced fantastic imagery, this low-key tale by writer-director Emanuele Crialese takes a family of Sicilian farmers from its rustic home in the hills to Ellis Island, USA (shot on location all the way) at the turn of the 20th century. Acting honors to Vincenzo Amato, as the family's young patriarch, and Charlotte Gainsbourg, as an Englishwoman who latches on to him in transit during the chaotic sea voyage. As a European valentine to the "New World," the hopefulness of the characters is matched by the filmmaker's misty-eyed marvel at the promise of America in those long-ago days. Somebody still believes. With Vincent Schiavelli in one of his last roles. Italian title: Nuovomundo.

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