The New Americans (2004) Review
(More customer reviews)Here's an absolutely transformative documentary.
Why "transformative"? Because immigration and cultural diversity are two enormously important issues right now and we need media like this documentary series that will transform our assumptions about immigrants.
Thanks to Facets Video, Gita Saedi's entire 411-minute production of "The New Americans" now is available now on DVD. It's well worth the investment, because Saedi spent a long time and an enormous number of miles exploring this broad spectrum of real-life stories involving immigrants.
As the main photo on the cover suggests, we learn about a poor Hispanic-American family struggling through the maze of American immigration hurdles. Their story is all the more poignant because they are trying to do all the right things in their move to America.
But there's so much more here!
We meet a prominent African family, reduced to refugee status because of their tribe's work on behalf of human rights, now trying to re-establish themselves in the U.S. The family quickly discovers problems at nearly every turn, even though Americans celebrate the kind of brave activism that wound up pushing this family toward our shores.
We also meet Dominican baseball players facing life-and-death challenges of their own. And, deep in the series we meet an Indian couple moving to the U.S. for professional work -- and discovering that American culture is quite different than what they expected.
The mother of a hopeful pro-baseball player, who lives in poverty in her own homeland, says it all: "Poor people's dreams are very deep things."
They are -- and so is this terrific series.
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About the filmThe New Americans follows four years in the lives of a diverse group of contemporary immigrants and refugees as they journey to start new lives in America. We follow an Indian couple to Silicon Valley through the dot-com boom and bust. A Mexican meatpacker struggles to reunite his family in rural Kansas. Two families of Nigerian refugees (including the sister of slain Ogoni activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa) escape government persecution. Two Los Angeles Dodgers prospects follow their big dreams of escaping the barrios of the Dominican Republic. A Palestinian woman who marries into a new life in Chicago only to discover in the wake of September 11, she cannot leave behind the pain of her homeland's conflict.Kartemquin assembled a team of talented directors including the creators of Hoop Dreams, Who Killed Vincent Chin, and Vietnam, Long Time Coming. The detailed portraits that resulted were woven into a seven-hour miniseries that presents a kaleidoscopic picture of immigrant life and a first impression of the U.S. that few born in America can imagine.Extras: Additional Scenes, Spanish Secondary Audio Track and Where Are They Now Slideshow.