Through the centuries, the large-scale immigration in the United States has continued to populate it as one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations of the world. This has inspired many filmmakers in mounting a number of critically acclaimed movies about the personal accounts of immigrants in the country. New York City is a popular filming location and setting for these works. Most of these cinematic offerings typically feature the contemporary strife of foreigners who start brand new lives in this part of the East Coast.
Presented as a gritty black-and-white neo-realist piece, “La Ciudad” (The City) follows the tale of four impoverished, non-English-speaking Hispanics in New York City. These illegal immigrant workers clearly fear the city, but regardless of the problems and dangers they face, their hopeful ideals of finally finding the right opportunities for better lives still draw them to stay. During the 1990s, filmmaker David Riker dedicated five years of research in order to capture a genuine look at the struggling situation of the underprivileged Latino community around the streets of Manhattan. He also established an ensemble cast of non-professional actors to keep up with the realism his narrative needs.
Putting a Bollywood flavor to the story of a man’s quest for the American Dream, “The Guru” delves into the life of a U.K.-based Indian dance instructor who decides to migrate to the United States to fulfill his ambition of becoming a star. Upon reaching America, he wastes no time in applying for acting jobs until he finds himself starring in a porn movie and becoming a celebrity sex guru for New York’s rich and famous. This film by Daisy von Scherler Mayer examines a man’s passion and energy of making it big, but he gets trapped in living a double life that seriously complicates things, especially when he falls in love.
The Oscar-nominated drama “In America” centers on an Irish family’s plan to start their lives anew. This happens after the tragic death of the couple’s two-year-old son, which prompts them and their two surviving daughters to travel illegally to the United States via Canada. With almost nothing in their pockets, they use their sheer strength of will to survive New York City. This rich and moving immigration tale directed by Irish-American filmmaker Jim Sheridan features a semi-autobiographical screenplay he made together with his two daughters Naomi and Kirsten Sheridan.