Saturday, 9 June 2012


I also consider that Avalon has merit as a semi autobiographical account of Russian Jewish immigrants to the USA and which also features Elijah Wood and Joan Plowright and music composed by Randy Newman. I have previously reviewed Liberty Heights although it is not in the individual film list which is odd. The description semi autobiographical is accurate because this is primarily the story of grandfather and father.

It is  the story of the American dream as one branch of the facility creates a successful Television company commenced when the first sets became available with limited programme and with the entire family looking at the test card waiting for a programme to commence. One of the two relatives behind the firm is a brilliant creative sales and market man who devises the early special offer, money back if you find anyone can beat our price and the first to use TV for advertising. The consequence is that they are able to open bigger and bigger premises. It all crashes down when the son of one with a penchant for setting fire to model planes using small trails of explosives burns down the new store which is not insured.

The film is about the closeness of immigrant families and the feuds that can develop. In this instance between two bothers, one always arrives later for the thanksgiving in part deliberate to make a point that they have to travel distance from the city centre where they all lived on arrival to the suburb where his brother and brother’s son now have separate houses in close proximity. On one such occasion the younger brother under pressure from the rest of the family to start the meal because of the delay with the food ready gives the order for the turkey tube cut a few minutes before the arrival of the brother and his wife. He storms out and the two stop associating and speaking.

The young brother of one relative Eva Krichinsky (Joan Plowright) who was believed to have died in a concentration camp survives and is brought to the USA with his wife and child. She is disheartened when after financially supporting him and his family which also causes further rifts between the  family branches he sizes the opportunity to become a farm manager at a distance and through the demands of his work he is even unable to attend an important family funeral.

There is also the exploration of the ritual arguments that often divide and bind couples at the same  time, and the suffocating influence mothers can have on their daughters in law and yet who in time begin to exhibit some of the same traits themselves.  The film does bring out what the USA has meant in terms of freedom and opportunity for millions of refugees world wide.

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