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3 Tales of Immigration

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on May 18, 2011 4:40PM

still from "Good Night, Socrates"
President Obama's recent speech on the issue was widely dismissed as unlikely to break a Republican deadlock, even as the Illinois DREAM ACT was passed by the state Senate. The debate over immigration waxes and wanes with such predictable regularity that you could almost set your watch by it. Now more than ever it's crucial to look past the traffic jam that is the 24-hour news cycle, and a forthcoming program from the Chicago Film Archives will do just that.

CFA has chosen three films that look at the issue from very different viewpoints. MI Raza: Portrait of a Family documents a working-class Mexican-American family living in Pilsen, with fascinating glimpses of the neighborhood circa 1972. Good Night, Socrates won first prize in the 1962 Venice International Film Festival. This moving documentary about Greektown examines the partial destruction of the neighborhood to make way for the Kennedy Expressway and the new UIC campus. Lastly, The Do Family: New Americans for the 80's is made up of amateur footage shot on Super 8mm recording the arrival of a refugee Chinese-Vietnamese family to Deerfield. Filmmaker John Sanner was a member of The Zion Lutheran Church, which sponsored the family's relocation.

After the screening there will be a panel discussion with Fred Tsao, Policy Director of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Virginia Martinez, former Policy Analyst at the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund; and Ngoan Le from the Chicago Community Trust.

Family Firsts: 3 Tales of Immigration is Tuesday, May 24, 6:30 p.m. at Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. The screening is free.