Destination America

Destination America

Director: Chana Gazit, David Grubin, Stephen Stept

Cast: Chana Gazit, David Grubin, Stephen Stept

     
 

Destination America is separated into four hour-long segments, each devoted to a motive for coming to America: money, artistic freedom, religious tolerance, and women's rights. The story of the plight of a present-day person attempting to emigrate or seek asylum is woven within the comparative struggles of two similar historical examples. The subjects, mostly…  See more details below

Overview

Destination America is separated into four hour-long segments, each devoted to a motive for coming to America: money, artistic freedom, religious tolerance, and women's rights. The story of the plight of a present-day person attempting to emigrate or seek asylum is woven within the comparative struggles of two similar historical examples. The subjects, mostly anonymous but passionate people, emphasize how America's immigration policies have made the country more prosperous and intellectually robust. The first section, "The Golden Door, combines a portrait of Manuel, a Mexican laborer who repeatedly crosses the border to earn money for his family, with a larger examination of Mexican migrant culture and border patrols and a brief history of 19th century Norwegian and Irish settlers. In the use of multiple narratives to tie into an overarching point, the telling of these tales is fresh and engaging. The least compelling segment, "The Art of Departure, emphasizes its subjects' pre-migration stories without explaining why their stories are uniquely American. Conductor Arturo Toscanini and painter Ilya Kabakov fled Fascist and Soviet repression, respectively. But in the contemporary example, Taiwanese dancer Fang-Yi Shui moves to New York to join the Martha Graham Dance Company and it's not clear how her story is supposed to relate to the others or what America offered all three that other countries like France and Sweden haven't offered artists. The two strongest segments emphasize the most admirable areas of America's immigration policies coupled with an examination of present-day circumstances. "The Earth Is the Lord's, devoted to those seeking political asylum from religious persecution, details the remarkable tradition of flourishing self-segregated societies in the United States, highlighted by the Amish, Mennonites, and Hasidic Jews. Tibetan Buddhist Tsering, fleeing harassment and torture in China, copes in legal-limbo isolation and this segment does a wonderful job of portraying the loneliness of a refugee in a foreign land: her correspondences with her daughters in India, constant homesickness, and struggling through the U.S. system to gain asylum status. The legal complexities of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, specifically its incorporation into the Department of Homeland Security and post-9/11 convolutions, make for a fascinating subject that is also detailed in the final segment, "Breaking Free: A Women's Journey." It addresses these issues and highlights the attempts of a Guatemalan trying to set a legal precedent for political asylum based on sexual oppression. Rodi is one of many people in Destination America, including a Mexican social club leader and an Iranian political activist, who have used the opportunities that American life afforded them to enrich the lives of others. The effects can be simple, but profound. As Rosa Cavalleri, a turn-of-the-century Italian immigrant who bucked Italian chauvinism is quoted as saying, "Now I'm not afraid any more. This is what America taught me."

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/18/2006
UPC:
0841887051880
Rating:
NR
Source:
Pbs (Direct)
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
3:40:00
Sales rank:
91,727

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Destination America: The People and Cultures That Created a Nation
1. Introduction [1:13]
2. Mexico: Manuel at Home [11:23]
3. Norway: Looking for Land [7:10]
4. Mexico: Manuel Leaves for US [5:03]
5. Ireland: Escaping the Famine [10:49]
6. Backlash Against Asian Immigrants [2:21]
7. Mexico: Home-and Then Back [15:19]
8. Credits [:46]
1. Introduction [3:19]
2. Taiwan: Fang-Yi Dances in America [4:20]
3. Italy: Toscanini Refuses to Back Down [12:27]
4. Russia: Kabakov's Art [13:20]
5. Taiwan: Fang-Yi Nostalgic for Home [11:11]
6. Russia: Welcome Kabakovs [7:30]
7. Credits [1:15]
1. Introduction [4:25]
2. Tibet: Forced From Their Sky-High Kingdom [8:23]
3. Hasidic Jews: Connected to Their Customs [10:29]
4. Hasidic Jews: America As Last Refuge [8:50]
5. Tibet: Refugee Community Scattered [5:24]
6. European Anabaptist- to American Amish and Mennonite [12:30]
7. Tibet: Tsering's Hopes for LIfe in America [3:32]
8. Credits [:45]
1. Introduction [1:09]
2. Guatemala: Machismo and Violence [11:16]
3. Italy: Following Their Men Across the Ocean [14:07]
4. Iran: Losing the Fight Against Tradition [21:40]
5. Guatemala: A New Kind of Refugee [4:57]
6. Credits [:45]

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