"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
MY VOYAGE TO ITALY (directed by Martin Scorsese) What is it that's so relaxing about Martin Scorsese's voice? I don't know. I've talked to a few different people and we all find his voice to be so comforting. Plus he's smart. I loved his contribution to BFI's 100 Years of Cinema (released in the states as "A Personal Journey") and I really love the documentary "Martin Scorsese Directs" from the American Masters series. I've watched them both over and over.
So now I can add another documentary to that list with "My Voyage To Italy". Studying the most important age in film worldwide, Neo Realism, he examines the main players and their major films in a way that is engaging without condescension or over-statistical, boredom. The guy really loves movies and he knows what's important.
His film history is just one of many alternative histories to the one championed by film critics static in their culture and prejudices. In writing about Rossellini, De Sica, Fellini and my hero Antonioni he writes about what he loves and what he sees as important. He even picks films that were seen as disasters financially and critically pointing out how their importance was more profound than such predictable criteria. For example, Rossellini's "Voyage To Italy" was a critical and financial failure but what championed by the Cahiers Du Cinema writers like Godard and Truffaut.
Scorcese's narration is smart and so loving that from anyone else you would think it pitiful. But in this situation, it's inspiring and just great storytelling.
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