''We have to arrive in America looking like princes!''The story is set at the beginning of the 20th century in Sicily.Charlotte Gainsbourg: Lucy ReedThe Golden Door is a telling and rendition of a Sicilian family's journey from the Italy to America. Salvatore, a middle-aged man who hopes for a more fruitful life, persuades his family to leave their homeland behind in Sicily, take the arduous journey across the raging seas, and inhabit a land whose rivers supposedly flow with milk. In short, they believe that by risking everything for the New World their dreams of prosperity will be answered. The imagery of the New World is optimistic, clever and highly imaginative. Silver coins rain from heaven upon Salvatore as he anticipates how prosperous he'll be in America, carrots and onions twice the size of human beings are shown being harvested to suggest wealth and health, and rivers of milk are dove in and flow through the minds of those who anticipate what America will bring. All of this imagery is surrealistically interwoven with the characters and helps nicely compliment the gritty realism that the story unfolds to the audience. The contrast between this imagery versus the dark reality of the Sicilian people helps provide hope while they're aboard the ship to the New World.The voyage to the New World is shot almost in complete darkness, especially when the seas tempests roar and nearly kill the people within. The dark reality I referred to is the Old World and the journey itself to the New World. The Old World is depicted as somewhat destitute and primitive. This is shown as Salvatore scrambles together to sell what few possessions he has left (donkeys, goats and rabbits) in order to obtain the appropriate clothing he needs to enter the New World. I thought it was rather interesting that these people believed they had to conform to a certain dress code in order to be accepted in the New World; it was almost suggesting that people had to fit a particular stereotype or mold in order to be recognized as morally fit. The most powerful image in the film was when the ship is leaving their homeland and setting sail for the New World. This shot shows an overhead view of a crowd of people who slowly seem to separate from one another, depicting the separation between the Old and New Worlds. This shot also suggested that the people were being torn away from all that was once familiar, wanted to divorce from their previous dark living conditions and were desirous to enter a world that held more promise.As later contrasted to how the New World visually looks, the Old World seems dark and bleak as compared to the bright yet foggy New World. I thought it was particularly interesting that the Statue of Liberty is never shown through the fog at Ellis Island, but is remained hidden. I think this was an intentional directing choice that seemed to negate the purpose of what the Statue of Liberty stands for: "Give me your poor, your tired, your hungry" seemed like a joke in regards to what these people had to go through when arriving at the New World. Once they arrived in the Americas, they had to go through rather humiliating tests (i.e. delousing, mathematics, puzzles, etc.) in order to prove themselves as fit for the New World. These tests completely changed the perspectives of the Sicilian people. In particular, Salvatore's mother had the most difficult time subjecting herself to the rules and laws of the New World, feeling more violated than treated with respect. Where their dreams once provided hope and optimism for what the New World would provide, the reality of what the New World required was disparaging and rude. Salvatore doesn't change much other than his attitude towards what he felt the New World would be like versus what the New World actually was seemed disappointing to him. This attitude was shared by mostly everyone who voyaged with him. Their character arcs deal more with a cherished dream being greatly upset and a dark reality that had to be accepted.The film seems to make a strong commentary on preparing oneself to enter a heavenly and civilized society. Cleanliness, marriage and intelligence are prerequisites. Adhering to these rules is to prevent disease, immoral behavior and stupidity from dominating. Perhaps this is a commentary on how America has learned from the failings of other nations and so was purposefully established to secure that these plagues did not infest and destruct. Though the rules seemed rigid, they were there to protect and help the people flourish.