Seeing The Visitor and Thomas McCarthy at The Dryden

I headed out to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) for a last-minute addition: The Visitor, a film by Thomas McCarthy who was there to discuss it and answer questions. In short, it's about a rather emotionally-closed college professor who visits his apartment in Manhattan only to find that there are two illegal immigrants living there. As McCarthy pointed out, it's not really an illegal immigration "issue film"; I found it to be superbly warm with a bittersweet ending full of hope and possibility.

Overall, it reminded me of a time when I was at Burning Man in 2006 which I wrote about before. I was riding far past the edge of the main city one night, headed toward a light way off in the distance when I suddenly came upon the trash fence (and outer boundary) of the festival. On the one hand, I knew the entire event was bounded, but I had a much deeper and different understanding when I actually touched the gilded cage around me.

Likewise with The Visitor, it points out the same thing about America — in some ways a magical land of freedom, but in others, just a gilded cage no different from anywhere else.

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