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"In America": Persistence in Prayer

In America is the story of a young Irish family that illegally relocates to New York City from Canada. Johnny, Sarah, and their two young daughters Christy and Ariel, settle in a rundown tenement apartment in a dangerous neighborhood. Although their parents are barely able to earn enough to keep the family going, the children are oblivious to their abject poverty.

On Halloween, Christy and Ariel are told about the American tradition of trick-or-treating and decide to try it. Because of the gang-infested neighborhood, Johnny and Sarah forbid their children from venturing outside but give them permission to go door to door in their own building. As the scene opens, Christy (dressed like autumn) and Ariel (in an angel costume) are knocking on a neighbor's door in the dingy, dark hallway, while their dad looks on apprehensively.

"Trick or treat! Trick or treat!" they call out as they pound as loudly as they can. But no one answers. Christy looks over her shoulder, sees her dad, and calls out, "Dad, get out of here." When he goes back inside, they continue knocking.

Pleading "trick or treat" as if it were a life or death matter, the little girls batter the filthy, paint-chipped doors with open palms.

Johnny calls out to no one in particular, "Open the stupid door!"

When no one responds, Ariel looks up at her big sister and says, "Why won't they answer?"

Christy smiles and says, "Maybe they're afraid."

Their door-to-door search brings them to a door with the words "Keep away" painted in big, orange letters.

"I don't care, Christy," Ariel says as she boldly goes to the door. Calling out "trick or treat," they pound on the uninviting looking door.

While the girls continue pounding, the occupant is seen developing photographs in a darkroom inside the apartment. He is a huge African-American. His bare chest reveals a muscular physique. When the girls persist, the man finally shouts, "Who's there?" Rather than being frightened, the kids look at each other excitedly and say, "Someone's there!" They resume pounding and calling out "trick or treat" with all their might.

The man yells, "Other door," first in Spanish and then in English. The girls aren't quite sure what that means. Ariel looks up at her sister and says, "Knock again. I dare you." They proceed to pound with all four hands, shouting at the top of their lungs.

Angrily, the man puts down his work and approaches the door screaming, "Go away." He opens the door and peers down at two innocent faces holding empty paper bags with handles.

Ariel smiles and in a tiny, sweet voice says, "Hello."

The man's stern countenance slowly warms. "You're the kids from upstairs?" he asks. They nod. "Is this Halloween?"

They tell him it is. "Where you from?" he asks.

"Ireland," Christy responds as Ariel tries to peek into the man's apartment.

"You kids came all the way to America to trick or treat?" he asks.

"Yeah," Christy says with a giggle.

While the parents look on from the floor above to make sure everything is okay, the man opens the door and welcomes them to step inside.

Elapsed Time: Measured from the studio logo, 00:41:00 to 00:44:00

Content: Rated PG-13

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