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For Yilgun about Elia Kazan
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 27 Jul 2008 Sun 09:21 pm

The director was born Elia Kazanjoglou in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1909. In 1913 his family, Anatolian Greeks, emigrated to the US and settled in New York City, where Kazan’s father became a rug merchant. The future filmmaker graduated from Williams College and went on to study drama at Yale. He joined the left-leaning Group Theatre as an actor and assistant stage manager. The Group, led for much of the 1930s by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg, was one of the focal points of artistic life, and, inevitably, radical thought and activity, in New York City during the Depression years. It attracted actors and directors, as well as a variety of writers, including Clifford Odets.

In America America (1963), Kazan told the story of his uncle’s emigration from Turkey to the US at the turn of the century. For all its pain and pathos this treatment of the immigrant’s dream of passage to the new world is markedly uncritical. That the story stops and starts a dozen times, gets sidetracked, loses its way, befits a film that cannot make up its mind what it wants to say about its hero or his new country.

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