My American Family (2004), 70 min. Jerzy Sladkowski, dir.
In the early twentieth century, members of the Merenda family emigrated to the United States from Paterno Calabro (Cosenza Province), Calabria. Over the decades, the growing family’s ties to their homeland deteriorated. In 2002, in an effort to restore the broken link, seventy-year-old Gaetano Merenda, his wife Adriana, and their son Antonio decided to fly from Italy to Kansas to attend a family reunion. During the trip, they hope to answer questions surrounding Francesco “Pirune” Merenda, the black sheep of the family, and one of the first to emigrate to America, but whose activities there remain cloaked in mystery. In My American Family, their exploration into family history leads to revelations—of both a historical and personal nature—that none of them expected.
Post-screening discussion led by Joseph Sciorra, Calandra Institute