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Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

America Becoming

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $79.95
  • Date: Copyright 1991. Released 1991.
  • Descriptors: Immigration and emigration. United States - Immigration and emigration.
  • Production Information: Live action, Archival footage. Produced by Dai Sil Kim-Gibson. Color, b&w. Also available in Beta. Includes Guide. 90 min.
  • Production Company: WETA, Washington
  • Available from: PBS Video 1320 Braddock Pl. Alexandria, VA 22314-1698 (703)739-5380
  • ISBN: ISBN 0-7936-0618-7.
  • Cataloging: 304.82'0973 United States - Emigration and immigration||Immigrants - United States - Social conditions||Cities and towns - United States - Social conditions
  • Print Entry #: 3:484
  • Reviewer: Sydney Chambers
  • This lengthy, 90-minute video visits six US cities that have experienced influxes of recent immigrants, mostly from Central America, the Caribbean, and Asia. The cities range from Miami, the US city with the largest proportion of foreign-born residents; to Garden City, Kansas, in the heartland of the country; to Philadelphia, the only city included with a significant number of recent European immigrants.

    Each city's treatment is about 13 minutes long and consists of statistics about recent immigrants followed by four or five residents and local community leaders questioned by an off-camera interviewer. The economic, political, cultural, and social impact of large groups of new residents, many of whom don't speak English, is touched upon in the interviews. Although it is good to see the common threads of the impact of many different immigrant groups in widely disparate cities, the video is too long. The statements of residents become repetitive expressions of discontent, resentment, hope, and determination to overcome the obstacles of diversity. This production could have been improved by a more in-depth development of a smaller number of interviewees. Another improvement would be more emphasis on weaving together the common threads.

    While it does not use sophisticated techniques, the video's visual and sound editing is clean. Film clips of less-recent immigrants, mostly in black and white, develop historical depth. Much of the photographic composition consists of interviewees sitting in living rooms, but because of the number of people shown, this does not have the deadening effect it could. The opening and closing credits include an interesting voice-over mingling many voices in different languages. With the drawback of its length taken into account, this is a fine video on the subject of recent immigration to the United States and current urban issues. It would be suitable for high school and above, and for general use collections as well as those focusing on urban studies.

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