Golden Door (2006) - Synopsis

GOLDEN DOOR, with an original mix of both magical and provocatively authentic visuals, turns the classic tale of coming to America into a wondrous and soulful experience. It is a romantic fable that takes audiences into the very heart of this quintessential American experience – as one man, driven by fantastic dreams and confronted with shocking realities, makes an epic odyssey in search of a brand new world. On a perilous steamship journey from his Sicilian village, the widower Salvatore Mancuso (Vincenzo Amato) encounters a ravishing, mystery-shrouded Englishwoman, Lucy (Charlotte Gainsbourg, SCIENCE OF SLEEP) – as the Old World literally collides into the New with seductive results. Amid a harrowing crossing, an unexpected love story unfolds all the way to the halls of Ellis Island, where both Salvatore and Lucy will stop at nothing to make it through the GOLDEN DOOR to the America of their imaginations.

It all begins with the lonely farmer Salvatore, who leads an ancient kind of existence, buoyed by the cycles of nature and his simple faith, in his tiny Sicilian village. But Salvatore yearns for a better life, one he believes only exists in the fabled land known as America. According to the postcards that come to him like a sign from above, in America awaits a sensational Garden of Eden – where carrots grow taller than men, rivers flow with milk and golden coins rain from the trees.

Ready to risk everything for such a miraculous realm, Salvatore makes the momentous decision to sell everything he has – his land, his home, his animals – in order to take the unimaginable passage with his two sons, handsome Angelo and the deaf-mute Pietro, as well as his elderly mother, Fortunata. Holding tight to the enchanted superstitions that once kept them going, they join the hrongs hoping to board a transatlantic ocean-liner headed for New York City. There, they find themselves amidst scores of other peasants, profiteers and one alluring, red-headed Englishwoman, Lucy, who will strike a bargain with Salvatore that will change their crossing into a crescendoing romantic alliance, built not on common language or experiences but transcendent emotions.

But neither Salvatore nor Lucy is prepared for the arrival at Ellis Island, AKA the “Island of Tears,” where families are inspected, interrogated and sometimes split apart in heartbreaking decisions. Here is where they will have to bravely face their own dilemmas, as they become part of one of the most extraordinary transformations in history –leaving the past behind to be reborn in a new future as modern Americans.

Miramax Films Presents GOLDEN DOOR, written and directed by Emanuele Crialese. The producers are Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Fabrizio Mosca and Crialese. The executive producers are Bernard Bouix and Tommaso Calevi. The film stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vincenzo Amato, Aurora Quattrocchi, Francesco Casisa, Filippo Pucillo, Federica de Cola and Isabella Ragonese.