Wednesday, January 2, 2013

#870. My Voyage to Italy (1999)

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Martin Scorsese

Tag line: "The Movies that Inspired one of Hollywood's Greatest Filmmakers"

Trivia: This movie was screened out of competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival

What better way to follow up my recent viewing of A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies than to watch another 4-hour documentary featuring the great director, who’s also a respected film scholar, discuss the pictures that, from an early age, fed his love of movies? In 1999’s My Voyage to Italy, the focus is placed squarely on Italian cinema, paying close attention to a handful of filmmakers who not only motivated Scorsese to make films, but changed the very landscape of cinema the world over.

My Voyage to Italy begins with a brief look at Scorsese’s own background and that of his family, many of whom were new to America and would watch Italian films on television as a means of maintaining their connection to the “old world”. From there, the movie delves into the careers of several of Italy’s most noteworthy directors, such as Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio de Sica, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni.

Much like Personal Journey, Scorsese builds this documentary around his own experiences, his own movie tastes, only with My Voyage to Italy, the works that aroused his artistic spirit also managed to spark creativity in others. From the silent epic Cabiria, which stirred the imagination of pioneer D.W. Griffith so profoundly it led to the creation of his own extravagant costume drama, Intolerance, through to the Neorealist films of Rossellini and De Sica, which served as starting points for French New Wave directors like Truffaut and Godard, Italian movies have left an indelible mark on world cinema. Scorsese covers this, plus so much more in this in-depth documentary. So while My Voyage to Italy is, indeed, every bit as personal a journey for Scorsese as his American project several years earlier, it just so happens, this time around, the films that touched him so deeply also touched the entire world.

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