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Public Speaking
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Public Speaking (2010) More at IMDbPro »

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Public Speaking -- A feature-length documentary on writer and social commentator Fran Lebowitz.


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Release Date:
22 November 2010 (USA) See more »
A feature-length documentary starring Fran Lebowitz, a writer known for her unique take on modern life... See more » | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
"Humility is no substitute for a great personality." See more (9 total) »


James Baldwin ... (archive footage)
William F. Buckley ... (archive footage)

Truman Capote ... (archive footage)

Pau Casals ... (archive footage)

Candy Darling ... (archive footage)

Serge Gainsbourg ... (archive footage)
Ivo Juhani ... Himself

Fran Lebowitz ... Herself (also archive footage)

Oscar Levant ... (archive footage)
Thelonious Monk ... (archive footage)

Toni Morrison ... (archive footage)

Conan O'Brien ... Himself (archive footage)
Eugene O'Neill ... (archive footage)
Jack Paar ... (archive footage)
Dorothy Parker ... (archive footage)
S.J. Perelman ... (archive footage)

Pablo Picasso ... (archive footage)

Cole Porter ... (archive footage)
Lisa Robinson ... (archive footage)

Charlie Rose ... (archive footage)
King Carl Gustav of Sweden ... (archive footage)

James Thurber ... (archive footage)

Alex Trebek ... (archive footage)

Gore Vidal ... (archive footage)

Andy Warhol ... (archive footage)

Theodore Bouloukos ... Himself (uncredited)
Sean Dillon ... Jeopardy! Contestant (uncredited)

Directed by
Martin Scorsese 
Produced by
Margaret Bodde .... producer
Jenny Carchman .... supervising producer
Graydon Carter .... producer
Erin Edeiken .... associate producer
Chris Garrett .... associate producer
Ted Griffin .... executive producer
John Hayes .... executive producer
Fran Lebowitz .... producer
Martin Scorsese .... producer
Emma Tillinger Koskoff .... producer: Sikelia Productions
Cinematography by
Ellen Kuras (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Damián Rodríguez  (as Damian Rodriguez)
David Tedeschi 
Makeup Department
B. Cohen .... makeup
Meghan Taylor .... additional makeup
Production Management
Alan Lowe .... post-production supervisor
Christopher Surgent .... production consultant (as Chris Surgent)
Kim Surowicz .... production supervisor
Sound Department
Felix Andrew .... sound mixer
Chris Fielder .... assistant sound editor
Tom Fleischman .... sound re-recording mixer
Gregg Harris .... boom operator
Bret Johnson .... sound re-recording assistant
Danny Michael .... sound
Peter Miller .... sound
Mark Roy .... sound
Philip Stockton .... sound editor
Paul Banks Tirone .... sound re-recording assistant
Samuel Miille .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Sebastián Almeida .... assistant camera
Matt Blades .... grip
Michael Buck .... grip
Patrick Capone .... camera operator
Archangelo Ciotti .... grip
Andrea Cronin-Souza .... electrician
Paul Daley .... gaffer
Jeremiah Dalton .... grip
Jack Donnelly .... camera operator
John W. Duvall .... grip
Kevin Flynn .... grip
Richard Gioia .... assistant camera
Carlos Omar Guerra .... camera operator
Alonso Homs .... digital imaging technician
Linda Kallerus .... assistant camera (as Linda Slater)
Daniel Keck .... assistant camera
Patrick McGrath .... grip
John C. Nadeau .... gaffer
Chris Norr .... camera operator
Keith Putnam .... digital imaging technician
David Regan .... assistant camera (as Dave Regan)
Frank Rinato .... assistant camera
Lisa Rinzler .... additional photography
Tristan G. Sheridan .... gaffer
Timothy Smith .... grip
David S. Tuttman .... camera operator
Editorial Department
Molle DeBartolo .... digital intermediate project manager
Jack Lewars .... digital intermediate colorist
Jonathan Liebert .... digital cinema mastering
Alan Lowe .... assistant editor
Benjamin Murray .... on-line editor
Music Department
Joe Rudge .... music clearance supervisor
Other crew
Gregory Antonopoulos .... production assistant
Mike Cahill .... production assistant
Zrinka Devic .... production assistant
Marlon Dunbar .... accountant
David Foxley .... assistant: Graydon Carter
Lisa Frechette .... assistant: Martin Scorsese
Richard Giannotti .... production assistant
Barbara Gregson .... additional clearances
Allen J. Grubman .... legal
Barbara Hasselman .... accountant
Chiemi Karasawa .... script supervisor
Suk Yi Mar .... location manager
Christine Murphy .... accountant
Allison Niedermeier .... production associate
Dan O'Halloran .... post-tape operator
Matthew Petock .... production assistant
Charles O. Prince .... legal
Brett Rader .... intern
Anthony Rotunno .... assistant: Graydon Carter
Ann Marie Roubal .... accountant
Annie Salsich .... intern
Lawrence Shire .... legal
Edward Sorel .... mural at the waverly inn
Erik Sorensen .... production assistant
Robert A. Strent .... legal
Adriano Valentini .... production assistant
Marc Balet .... very special thanks
Ralph Brescia .... special thanks
Steve Castellano .... special thanks
Red Charyszyn .... special thanks
Grover Crisp .... special thanks
Alisa DeRosa .... special thanks
Chris Donnelly .... special thanks
Mark Dowley .... special thanks
Ari Emanuel .... special thanks
Don Fleming .... special thanks
Blair Foster .... special thanks
Charlotte Gainsbourg .... special thanks
Eddie Gorodetsky .... special thanks
Maarten Kooij .... special thanks
Catherine Laignel .... special thanks
Louis Licari .... special thanks
Sara Marks .... special thanks
Fabienne Martin .... special thanks
Mark McElhatten .... special thanks
Helen Morris Scorsese .... very special thanks
Toni Morrison .... very special thanks
Esther Newberg .... special thanks
Tiffany Nishimoto .... special thanks
Jimmy Paul .... special thanks
Lisa Robinson .... very special thanks
Karen Thorsen .... special thanks
Steve Turner .... special thanks
Matt Ullian .... special thanks
Emil Varda .... special thanks
Rick Yorn .... very special thanks
Deane Zimmerman .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:84 min (approx.)

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Features Women in Revolt (1971)See more »
Carlotta's GalopSee more »


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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
"Humility is no substitute for a great personality.", 28 October 2011
Author: jzappa from Cincinnati, OH, United States

With the arguable exception of the final shot of Gangs of New York, this cinematic portrait is the closest Scorsese has come to the modern New York, the New York he has seemed to leave behind in his work. He even uses references to his own classic NYC films. There is more than one moment in which Scorsese gently recreates Travis' smoke-filled night driving along apparently red light-style districts, immortalizing the subject of this documentary's pearl grey checker cab, complete with Bernard Herrmann's score, as she is herself a relic of Old NYC, much like Travis. When you're the director of Taxi Driver and you find out your focus of study is a New Yorker who drives an old checker cab, you can't help but be self-referential to portray the contrast between the New York before it became a tourist attraction and the New York of today.

Unlike Travis, however, Scorsese finds this protagonist hilarious. And rightly so, because she is. Public Speaking centers on the antiquated calling of star intellectual Fran Lebowitz. What materializes, then again, is certainly a study of Lebowitz but also by expansion one of a city, and a scholarly culture, that has been severely thinned over the last thirty some years, apparently not for better. The grimy, vigorous, violent city that worked as Scorsese's inspiration is now dead, Lebowitz proposes, maybe accounting for why Scorsese finds little stimulation there of late. What lingers, as per this film's cantankerous figure of interest, is a realm of high-priced real estate and ridiculous smoking bans. Known more for her lecturing appearances than her slight literary productivity, Lebowitz is the ultimate chatterer, which makes her the ultimate interviewee.

Shot chiefly from Lebowitz's favorite table at The Waverly Inn, Public Speaking is like a stand-up film starring a comic who keeps a safe distance from the stand-up characterization. This café, which is one of New York's bona fide old boys' clubs, is a steady prompt that Lebowitz has one foot in yesteryear and another resolutely in the here and now. Scorsese provides Lebowitz abundant occasion to both sardonically criticize the changes in contemporary politics and wax melancholy about the New York of her early life. Absorbing her discourse, one cultivates a true admiration for the talent of her speechifying. Each acerbic jab that she chucks is especially mirthful owing to the foul reality it accommodates. Lebowitz may be rather wedged in days gone by, but she remains there of her own volition, patently asserting that it's preferable to today's cultural wasteland.

What makes Public Speaking most idiosyncratic in Scorsese's body of work is that little seems hallowed in this film, which makes it a bracing aide memoire of a media culture that some time ago was energized by provocative wit and intellect. Lebowitz's stance on religion, the toll of AIDS, gentrification and celebrity are each relatively scandalous in this current atmosphere of cut-and-dried idea sanitization, but the sense behind assertions like these is difficult to wave. Lebowitz at this stage has little concern with charming new fans, so sure is she of the pitiful shape of her audience. The surprise she pretends whenever a young person makes a perceptive remark says a lot. Scorsese, for his part, does little to water down or even interpret what she has to say, in spite of one's patience for a personality that's so plainly immutable. Knowing the director's roster of religiously imbued, guilt-ridden characters, one wonders how shocking Lebowitz's views are to him. Regardless of whether or not he felt that way, one also sees in that repertoire of protagonists a nonjudgmental, deferential teller of their stories. In this way, Public Speaking, for better or worse, does its subject justice and finds little else necessary.

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