11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Christopher J. Jarmick
- Published on Amazon.com
My Voyage to Italy is Martin Scorsese's 246 minute love-letter to the Italian films he grew up watching with his family on Elizabeth Street in New York City. The knowledge passion and reckless enthusiasm you would expect from director Scorsese also serves to educate the audience to the best known and most important Italian films made between 1947 and 1963.
The un-enlightened or strictly visceral summer blockbuster film watchers need not bother with this one. You'll get over 4 hours of mostly black and white film clips with easy to read yellow subtitles.
If you have a passion for films that matter -as art, political statements, or film-maker's personal passions--then you will not want to miss this movie. If you recall seeing most of these films as part of college film study classes, in revival theaters, or on television in less than pristine form, you can relive seeing the films once again (in condensed film) with a brilliant narrator (Scorsese) who passionately explains what makes these films special to him--and perhaps will make them special to you as well.
Scorsese through his narration and with the help of Thelma Schoonmaker`s subtle editing, tells you how and why he fell in love with the movies. They showed him the land where his grand parents came from, they showed him the culture of his ancestry, they showed him the passion and art of making movies and how they could influence and affect the world. Movies had power and could mean something.
That doesn't necessarily mean that Scorsese is 100 percent correct in his passionate love for these films. He admits there are flaws to many of the movies he is showing, but that he also doesn't care about these flaws. He communicates to us very well why these films mean as much as they do to him, and shows off the best, most affecting scenes. He suggests ways that we might watch these titles to enjoy them, understand them completely. If you want to fall in love with Italian Neo-realism in particular, Scorsese makes it easy for you to do so.
The subject is very personal and we go deep into the works of five major post World War 2 Italian filmmakers. In the process we get mini-biographies of Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti, Michaelangelo Antonioni and Frederico Fellini in the approximately 45 minutes that is devoted to each one. We learn where the filmmakers came from, their career arcs and we sample 4 to 6 movies from each. The movie stops at Fellini's 8 ½ after 246 minutes.
There is much more to this subject, then is covered in this one very long film. Scorsese could give us another 246 minute, Another Voyage to Italy and cover more Italian cinema classics and filmmakers post 1963 like: The Leopard, The Conformist, Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Mario Bava (mentioned very quickly in the first film), Leoni's Good, Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon A Time in the West and many others. Foolishly there has been so criticism on this project because of what Scorsese left out--even though usually what is missed is post 1963 films that were not part of the scope of this film in the first place.
Scorsese makes many films resonate with his comments, observations, memories and appreciations including: the Italian silent classic Cabiria,that was a major influence on Griffith's Intolerance, Rome: Open City, Paisan, Fabiola, The Gold of Naples ,Germany Year Zero, Stromboli, The Miracle, The Flowers of St. Francis, Europa '51, Voyage to Italy, Obsessione, La Terra Trema, Senso, Shoeshine, The Bicycle Thief, Umberto D, Marriage Italian-Style, I Vitelloni, La Dolce Vita, , L'Avventura, and L'Eclisse.and finally as a celebration of pure cinema Scorsese shows us clips from Fellini's 8 ½.
I would have really appreciated being shown less known films than the ones included on this documentary. I mean I have seen most of these films and at least half I've seen several times or own on DVD. However, Scorsese would have to deviate from his personal voyage to include more obscure films, for they would not be films he saw as a child. If you haven't seen a lot of the films that are being discussed here--you should. And if you watch MY VOYAGE TO ITALY before you see the films, you will be somewhat influenced by how the famous director views these images and what they mean to him. But maybe you wouldn't seek out these movies without seeing this movie.
If VOYAGE reminds people of the art and importance of film, then it is of course a good thing. However, I know that this is mostly a project that preaches to the choir. It is too long and not accessible enough for those who only have a casual interest in the subject matter.
I strongly recommend you watch this one--and I wish more of you would truly be interested enough to do so.