I saw The Visitor last night. It's a good movie, very sad. I'm still struggling with how it ended. It painted a realistic depiction of my country's flawed immigration policy. At first I thought the film was reaffirming U.S. exceptionalism, but now I think not. It got me questioning whether the U.S. is really such a wonderful place to live for immigrants as well as for those born here. A happy Statue of Liberty moment contrasts with a giant U.S. flag at the airport.
Further thoughts on the film posted a bit later in the day:
I can't get the main character, Walter, out of my head. He is a financially successful tenured white male professor at what appears to be a prestigious university in Connecticut. Walter has been in a funk for the past 20 years. He is forced to attend a conference on his supposed specialty, globalization and the "third world." Everyone at the conference looks just like him- a statement on who makes world economic policies. At first I resented the fact that the film focuses on Walter. Tarek has a much more important story, in my opinion. However, the more I think about it, it makes sense. Walter, like many in this country, are living in a numb stupor and are politically disconnected from others in the U.S. and in the rest of the world. Walter is the perfect metaphor for what many including Marita Sturken in Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero would call, apolitical and disengaged innocence. I'll have to write about Sturken's book at some other point. The book is excellent.