Commissioned as part of a series of documentaries celebrating the centenary of the Statue of Liberty, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS begins with Malle reflecting on his own status as a new American (he had been living in the U.S. for almost ten years and had an American wife and daughter). That reflection leads him to seek out other new immigrants to America. Malle soon realizes how much the face of U.S. immigration has changed: the new arrivals are more likely to come from Asia, Africa or Latin America than from Europe, the traditional source of immigrants. Traveling from Vietnamese communities in California to Indian-run motels in the Deep South, conversing with immigrants ranging from West Indian poet (and future Nobel prize winner) Derek Walcott to a Hispanic astronaut who became a citizen in 1977, Malle sketches the new meanings that the American dream has taken on for these newest Americans.
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