© Pandastorm Pictures/Central Film Verleih

The Visitor
U.S.A. 2007

Opening 14 Jan 2010

Directed by: Thomas McCarthy
Writing credits: Thomas McCarthy
Principal actors: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Jekesai Gurira, Hiam Abbass, Marian Seldes

University professor Walter (Richard Jenkins) is lonely and depressed following his wife’s death. He reluctantly agrees to give a paper at a convention and plans to stay in the apartment in New York City that he hasn’t visited for several years. He is initially shocked to discover illegal immigrants “renting” his apartment from someone else and asks them to leave, but he is drawn to their plight and befriends them. Zaineb is from Senegal and earns a living by making and selling jewellery. All live together until Tarek finds himself in a detention centre. His mother travels across the U.S. to be near her son and then follows him to Syria when he is deported. Walter had begun to find happiness but finds his new interest in life is snatched away. He tries to confront the authorities in order to help his friend, but he is left to reflect bitterly on his country’s unbending immigration laws. This is Thomas McCarthy’s second film, and he has tackled a modern-day problem in a reflecting and thought-provoking way. (Jenny Mather)

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