Laurence Siegel

2019, 34:04 minutes, colour, no dialogue

TAPECODE 2113.00

This half hour film told in contemporary dance choreographed by Phyllis Whyte, drops us into the world and experience of the throngs of immigrants from Eastern Europe seeking a new life in Canada in the 1920s. They come with no money or language and often with no family waiting to greet them. Desperate, and uncertain they are leaving lives of penury and persecution.

My film explores the plight of one family among the masses as they uproot from their homeland, to enter an unsure future in a foreign land.
They take us from their home in a mud village of Ukraine across the Atlantic to the doors of Pier 21 in Halifax. The immigrants and our family among them fill the hall in wonder and disbelief, rejoicing in the new found possibilities. There are mixed emotions and echos of the lives left behind. Memories are played out in black and white flashback amid the joyful and colourful expressions of new found freedom in the no-mans land of the immigration hall. And in the chaos of the new environment they gather their strength as they await their destiny. The stakes could not be greater as they and all the others know that the immigration officers may refuse them entrance.
On the railway platform, our family now successful in their bid to enter the new world, stare hopefully into an uncertain future.

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