Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily. These are two people who have lived together for a long time and ... See full summary »
A feature-length documentary starring Fran Lebowitz, a writer known for her unique take on modern life. The film weaves together extemporaneous monologues with archival footage and the ... See full summary »
William F. Buckley,
"I saw these movies. They had a powerful effect on me. You should see them." That's Martin Scorsese's message for this documentary. We meet his family on Elizabeth Street in New York; he's a third generation Italian with Sicilian roots. Starting in 1949, they watched movies on TV as well as in theaters, lots of Italian imports. Scorsese, with his narration giving a personal as well as a public context, shows extended clips of these movies. Films of Rossellini and De Sica fill part one; those of Visconti, Fellini, and Antonioni comprise part two. Scorsese takes time with emotion, style, staging, technique, political context, and cinematic influence. It's his movie family. Written by
There are so few people today who are interested in the great films of yesteryear. That's sad on many levels, but one of the more ironic reasons is that many of the directors who are so loved today could not have made the great films they did, had they not been so deeply inspired by the films of the past. Especially by the period of neo-realism in Italian Cinema (1940s-1960s).
There's no way anyone could make a bad documentary about this era, since the films themselves have such a strong impact that any clips would be fascinating. But Scorsese has given us his very personal experience of these films, and that gives each of the films some context. Those of us who can remember seeing these films for the first time can relive the experience with Scorsese, exactly as if they were seeing the films for the first time. It also makes one think back on all the most important films in our personal lives. The films that first gave the world dimension, and the films that first made us worship the potential that great cinema has.
The main directors featured are Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Lucino Visconti, Michaelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini, and Scorsese lovingly takes his time showing us numerous clips from most of their greatest films. I was lucky enough to see this documentary in a cinema, and I hope others will also have that chance. Most of the films featured I'd only seen on video. Some I'd liked a lot, others I loved, but nothing prepared me for the impact of seeing those images on the big screen! But even if you can only catch this on video or DVD, do your best to see it. It's what I call "sacred cinema"!
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