Regardless of the time period, the diverse stories of many immigrants can serve as good material for movies of various genres. Comedy offerings usually present more serious issues with lighthearted storytelling. Through the years, immigration comedies have provided viewers with contemporary escapist flicks that are merely intended to bring laughter, along with those that also address different critical issues in entertaining ways.
"Born in East L.A." (1987)
"Born in East L.A." is about a Mexican American who is caught up in an immigration raid in a factory filled with illegal workers. Unfortunately, he is unable to provide any form of identification to prove that he is an American. This results in him getting deported to Mexico. He can't speak Spanish and has no idea how to get back home.
This movie is able to carry its ludicrous plot for a blast of good-natured comedy. The idea for it came from the 1984 novelty parody song of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." That hit song, which shared the same title as the film project inspired by it, was written by comedian Cheech Marin, who also served as the film's writer, director, and star.
"Catfish in Black Bean Sauce" (1999)
Chi Muoi Lo's "Catfish in Black Bean Sauce" follows the life of two Vietnamese siblings adopted by an African-American couple. The younger brother is well-adjusted to American life. However, the older sister has memories of her birth mother and is determined to look for her. As the daughter finally finds her mother about a decade later, the adult siblings are able to bring her to the United States.
The arrival of their biological mother starts bringing tension to the different relationships in the family circle. Soon, the interracial wariness and misunderstandings inside the home reach a breaking point. This film mainly shines due to its well-written characters, impressive direction, and ensemble acting. The cultural clashes are told with such poignancy and hilarity, making the film an impressively funny, painful, and moving piece.
"Green Card Fever" (2003)
The romantic comedy "Green Card Fever" tells the story of a young Indian who overstays his U.S. visa in pursuit of a permanent residence status. His goal to obtain a green card leads him to risking himself in the underworld of illegal immigrants and immigration lawyers. In the middle of his dilemmas, he also finds love through an American girl of Indian descent.
This amiable film by Bala Rajasekharuni depicts the many tribulations undocumented immigrants encounter in their quest for the ever-elusive green card. It explores the dynamics of what some non-American citizens can do just to maneuver around the U.S. immigration system. It also presents the many legal complexities people must face as illegal residents.
"Spanglish" features the story of a mother who immigrates from Mexico with her young daughter for a better life in the United States. The cultural differences strain the new Hispanic immigrant, especially when she realizes that her daughter is getting too attached to the upscale American life of the family she serves.
A story about cultural adjustment and assimilation, this film by James L. Brooks offers more than just a mere exposition of cultural clashes. The film's production values and acting performances put heart to the story, which shows the deeper and growing complications of relationships inside an American home.
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