Monday, December 28, 2009

The Visitor:

                                                                    ~   Where Flutter our Hearts

     In the first half of the 20th century, people massively fled from European war miseries pursuing peace to a bloodless land where build their golden dreams; professionals, business men, illiterate, poor, sick and orphan embarked along on a “one-way trip”.  Their legacy is a proof of the more advanced perspective of living and willingness to become assimilated than the contemporaneous migrant: since they looked for integration and settling, they could pictured over a grassland plain the potential town where future generations would live. From Quebec to Tierra Del Fuego settled their home in the middle of nowhere and full of hope burned their ships ashore. It  never occurred to them to go back to the land they left behind.

       Migration waves of skeptical of their own government people looking for a better quality life and monetary opportunities that could be harvested in their own life period increasingly happen all around the world. The US and EU are among the most popular destinations propelled perhaps by the side effects of the media.

       Migrations of the modern world system have produced the ethnic and racial diversity that paved the way for multicultural claims; “To a certain degree, liberal states today are necessarily multicultural” states Christian Joppke in his studies on multiculturalism and immigration, adding that Third-World-based immigration waves of the postwar period work as a main force of liberation in the way of multiculturalism.

       Integration or “assimilation”, whose literal meaning is “making alike”, is no longer plausible in contemporary migrations due to a strong disinclination on the part of migrants to abandon national loyalties. Advanced transportation and communication technologies are responsible for migration to become no longer “one-way trips”, which Tzvetan Todorov considered the basis of the classic migrant’s willingness to become “assimilated”. “Even if a physical departure is postponed or abandoned, symbolic returns are plentiful and permanent up to a point where even the sense of having departed at all is lost”, he said.
       Without long-takes and virtuoso camera movements, The Visitor, portraits just one of the hundred of stories of an illegal immigrant who is violently being deported in the most straight, clean cut and simple way.
        Tarek, an immigrant from Syria, has spent years in the US waiting for his political asylum to be accepted. What is unknown to him is that this petition was denied long ago and his mother Mouna, from the old generation if immigrants who bitterly left Syria with no intentions to return, has hidden the deportation letter since he was young. He and his partner Zainab, an immigrant from Senegal, are being illicitly rented the NYCity residence of an aching widower and bored professor of economics whom, at the time of visiting the city, gets surprised to find them sheltering in his property. Out of pity, the proprietor Walter Vale, decides to temporarily host them.
       Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas, who play the role of Mouna, replied in an interview that The Visitor was mainly a story about cultural exchanges. In effect, while the egoistical, fictitious and lifeless external world of Walter Vale stresses out recalling a lost world attempting vainly to master the piano, brightens up when Tarek introduces him the djembe and when getting puzzled in describing the colorful and intricate crafts that Zainab makes for a living. Walter soon attends Tarek’s performances and awkwardly joins the drum circle at Union Square until he’s unfoundedly detained, arrested, shortly held in a detention center and ultimately deported to Syria by US immigration agents. As Tarek ceased calling, his mother Mouna comes from Chicago to voluntarily fly back to Syria after him.
        And what is left from all these psychotic moves other than the djembe at the professor’s apartment? Walter Vale’s pretending life is much like the city itself; cold structured still compassionately sheltering any tenacious passing byes, a life of pretensions, longing on a brilliant past and out of touch with his own emotions, yet actively searching for the proper medium where to canalize its soul material. One of the significant scenes where he unleashes his raw emotions is in the detention center where he is suddenly told that Tarek has been ‘removed’ or deported and no information was available on the matter. “You can’t do this to people, he had a life!” he yells to the agent, and one recalls Mouna when earlier referred to the system resentfully saying “It’s just like Syria”. His impotency against a cruel system jumps out of the screen and possesses the spectator way through the end of the film. No djembe rhythm softens it.
     Tarek, like all immigrant in love with what to come, brings music, new possibilities and flavors with a smile full of hope in which sustains the fragile stability and the move of the world that would be shattered in the detention center.
     Tarek, with no concrete memories of his homeland, never planned going back to Syria and, perhaps because of his illegal condition, never thought about join the mass work force of the US in any way, instead, while being in love with what he brings, his heart was settled in the place where he born. He looks for a place where his imported values be accepted, rather than for his social and cultural differences be assimilated in a way that after melted, faded away and ultimately extinguished.

      The vast majority of the to-day immigrant is not interested in citizenship or any bureaucratic matter; according to Emilio Gonzalez former Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Seeking for a temporary but concrete employment that enables them to sustain their family left behind, they travel with a pocket full of dreams and a promise to come back. But U.S. Immigration Services is interested in naturalizing the prospective voter which heart doesn't fly away.

      Many in the world are like Tarek; after their home country has been dismantled and exposed to the eyes of the world by the war against the Taliban, immigrant orphan Afghans have a difficult time at trying to anonymously be part of the society in order to build a life in the EU. They're too young to think about sponsoring or even supporting the surviving relatives left behind. Instead, they sleep alone on street benches of the City Of Lights dreaming with becoming engineers.

        Others traveled with the promise of a happy family reunion, but between eastern dreams and western life, they’ve got lost in translation, and cast down in on one of the crowdest cities of the world, age in isolation, according to Patricia L. Brown’s article “Nobody To Talk To” for the NY Times. A happy family reunion is a too antiquated dream for the current Californian life-style in which some immigrants became too old to adapt.
         Their hearts surely don't fly anywhere close by.



  1. I watched this movie too. Great cinematography and theme. The story was simple but the problem was evident. the detention scene was too dramatic I think but nothing equals the FREEDOM!! I can see why you like this one. I can relate too. I love when we see success from another perspective. Success is simple a point of view. we are not competing for who gets more but who gets happier.

  2. I posted this trailer because I'd like to talk about that where our interests in life are, there are our hearts too.
    We move around ultimately driven by what is in our hearts, (in there is always dearly people, then, dreams and personal goals in a second place) and during stressing circumstances those interests bloom displaying all thier colors, helping us to take decitions that will shape our lives, cornerstones of our ideals, symbol of the algebraic calculus that results in our unique individuality.
    Yes, the detention scene inside the MTA subway system is dramatic, but when Dexter is not found in the detention center and on one gives an anwer of where he is or what happen at him, is heartbreaking because the silence generates violence inside of us as we feel being treated more as a 'thing' that don't feel, closer to the inanimated world who don't need to be respected or be treated with care.
    I'll post the analysis soon.
    Thanks for your comment on my work.

  3. Glad to see you're still blogging! This is an inatereting trailer--looking forward to your comments!

  4. Great to see your writing. I always enjoyed conversing with you and reading your work. Keep following your dreams. Mariella.