At a time when immigration reform is a hot-button topic in Washington -- and at least in one state, with local anti-immigration punitive laws reaching controversial and potentially civil liberties-impinging levels -- it is a valuable time to reflect on how art imitates life, and how the richer fabric of our nation's identity is woven by the integration of groups from outside our borders. (As it has for generations, for almost everyone -- let's be honest, unless your ancestors were Native American.) With "Immigrants in America: A Hollywood Perspective," the Paley Center this week presents a thoughtful panel discussion of how immigrant themes and characters have been depicted in recent film and television, from Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino in which a racist retiree comes to be the protector of a terrorized Hmong family in suburban Michigan (screenwriter Nick Schenk is on the panel), to the many immigrant characters that contribute hugely to the chemistry of such sitcom hits as Ugly Betty and Modern Family. Film critic Emmanuel Levy moderates the event.
Mon., May 3, 2010