Since President Donald Trump's executive order to ban immigrants from seven countries was first announced, people from across the globe have been protesting and standing together to fight the ban. The order, plus Trump's campaign proposal and order to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, has left many people distraught over the future of our country, especially when it comes to immigration. Millions of people are now feeling frightened and uncertain about their families' futures in America, which is why I, for one, find it so important to learn more about different cultures through the immigrant stories told in movies and TV shows.
The Trump administration's immigration policies are scary, to say the least, but they've also made many people want to know more about immigration and what it's like to come from another country to America. For those wondering about just that, there is no better way to learn about immigrant culture than through the arts, and through film, in particular. The below list of nine movies explore the different histories of people who've moved to America from other countries, as well as what it's like to be part of today's immigrant culture in the U.S. Check them out.
1. A Better Life
A Better Life explores the lives of undocumented immigrants who are fighting for the American dream. Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir), a Mexican illegal immigrant and veteran Los Angeles day laborer, has trouble receiving the bare necessities needed to live in America while caring for his son Luis (José Julián). Carlos buys a truck to be a self-employed man and earn more money, but when it is stolen, his hopes for a better life fall into jeopardy. Unable to turn to the police for help, father and son go on a quest to find his truck.
2. Mother Of George
Mother of George centers on a newlywed Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn adjusting to their new lives. The young wife Adenike (Danai Gurira) faces infertility issues, prompting her to make decisions that could either help or destroy the growth of her family.
3. The Other Side Of Immigration
The Other Side of Immigration is a documentary exploring why so many people decide to leave the Mexican countryside to live and work in the U.S. The film sheds light on what happens to the families, work, and communities that are left behind.
4. Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction)
Chauthi Koot follows the tales of a family seeking refuge during the unease of the Hindu-Sikh tensions of Punjab in the 1980s, making for a compelling and heartbreaking story.
5. Half Of A Yellow Sun
This movie is Biyi Bandele’s adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s award-winning novel Half of a Yellow Sun, which explores the return of two sisters, Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose), to Nigeria, where they decide to join the civil war in the politically-torn country.
6. Horses Of God
The award-winning Moroccan drama Horses of God is based on the novel The Stars of Sidi Moumen by writer Mahi Binebine. The movie focuses on the causes and effects of nationalism, terrorism, and fundamentalism in the Arab world.
7. The Muslims Are Coming!
The Muslims Are Coming takes a look at Muslim culture in America through the eyes of a group of stand-up comedians. Members of the group, who are from various Muslim countries, travel around the U.S., performing for live audiences and doing outreach, like their segment "Ask a Muslim anything."
8. The Secret Of The Grain
The film is about an aging immigrant from Maghreb whose ambition to open a restaurant as an inheritance for his large family meets skeptical opposition from the French bureaucracy. As a result, he does anything he can to make the future for his family brighter.
9. The Namesake
When the Ganguli family moved to New York, they maintain a balance of their traditional Indian heritage and new American culture. However, Gogol (Kal Penn) strives to make his own identity without ignoring his heritage to help satisfy both his parents and develop his personal perspective on Indian culture.
The diverse cultures of America make it the great country that it is, and through these films, we all can gain more knowledge and perspective about our home's great melting pot.