April 11, 2008
On Wednesday night, the ACLU of Massachusetts
hosted a screening of The Visitor
at Coolidge Corner, and afterwards moderated a discussion with the audience and the film's convincing lead actor, Richard Jenkins, of Six Feet Under
fame. The discussion was very stimulating - among the hundreds of audience members was an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, who spoke up saying rules had to be followed, as well as an immigration attorney with his own stories to tell. The discussion got a little heated at one point, and lasted pretty late into the evening - several audience members approached me at the end of the evening and told me how much they liked the film and discussion.
The ACLU hosted this screening because Participant Media
, one of the film's producers, has launched a consciousness-raising campaign around the film
, taking on one of the ACLU's most poorly understood issues: the rights of immigrants.
If you don't know much about ICE's detention and deportation polices, director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent
) provides the basics in The Visitor
. The film bridges the gap between "them" and "us" with such sweet grace that it can be a great conversation-starter, judging from Wednesday lively Coolidge Corner discussion.
Bostonians can take advantage of a second free screening and discussion on Wednesday, April 16, at Boston's Regal Fenway at 7 p.m. (To make sure you are assured of a seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org
, call 617 425 8930 or just plan to be there early.)
So plan to visit The Visitor
on April 16 - and then work with us to restore fairness and humanity to our immigration system.