On ‘Not Being Nothing’: Post-ironic Melodrama in James Gray’s “The Immigrant”

Simone Francescato

Abstract


This essay analyzes James Gray’s The Immigrant (2013) discussing it as an instance of post-ironic melodrama (Włodek 2017) aimed at recovering the purity shown by this genre in the early phases of cinematic history. The essay argues that, although the movie pays evident homage to pre-classic silent-era melodramas, it also destabilizes the genre’s conventions by resorting to a particular use of the mise-en-scène and characterization. This directorial choice allows the film to retain pathos without eschewing ambivalence and indeterminacy, finally contributing to produce a complex representation of immigrants’ experience as well as a rather bleak portrait of the American Dream.


Keywords


James Gray; The Immigrant; migration cinema; post-irony; melodrama

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13136/2281-4582/2021.i17.1014

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