Robert De Niro & JR's "Ellis": an Immigration Roadmap

French Artist JR and Hollywood legend Robert De Niro come together in a 14 minute film placing De Niro in the abandoned rooms of the Ellis Island hospital amidst JR’s “Unframed” exhibit, surrounded by 100 year old portraits of European immigrants.


  1. The film acts as JR’s counterpart to his 2014"Unframed" exhibition (below) currently housed on the south side of EllisIsland, inside the abandoned infirmary where so many immigrants spent their initial days on American soil. Haunting portraits of these people who braved uncertainty to embark on a quest for a better life line the walls and cannot but echo the current crisis in Europe; perhaps the timing is all the more perfect for this release in light of this.
  2. Following its opening in 1902, approximately 1.2 million people passed through the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital. The Statue of Liberty can be seen from the windows and iconic landmarks like this feature in the 14-minute long film. JR says of his piece: "Talking about the past is the best way to understand the present and to approach our future." You can read more from the French born artist in this New Yorker article:
  3. As e. Nina Rothe of the Huffington Post puts it: "We don’t know, nor may never ask ourselves what these fellow humans may be carrying, along with their hopes and dreams, inside their suitcases... Robert De Niro, reciting the words of one immigrant written by Eric Roth, has that answer. But you’ll have to watch the film to find out!"