32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
In the beginning and end of Mi Viaggio Di Italia (My Voyage to Italy), filmmaker Martin Scorsese explains, in good reason, that the way to get people more interested in film is to share personal experiences of viewing particular ones that had some kind of impact for a movie-goer's experience (much like a friend telling another that a new movie is out, go see it, it's good, etc). Scorsese used a similar approach to his first cinema lesson- A Personal Journey Through American Movies- and like that one, it's a long, detailed, and deeply felt documentary. Sometimes when he talks about these movies you can tell he's so passionate about them, and it's a good approach.
First, Scorsese gives the viewer a feel of how he saw so many of these films from Italy- how he could go from seeing a Roy Rogers western in the theater and come home to watch a Rossellini series or a De Sica feature on TV- then, he goes through a comprehensive tale of the progression of the neo-realist movement, also mentioning the silent film epics, the tragi-comedies, and how it progressed into the "new-wave" of Antonionni and Fellini in the early 60's. Like 'Personal Journey', it's long, possibly longer than the previous, and might not be watchable in one sitting (it's a two parter as I remember it from seeing it broadcast on TV). But for the avid movie-goer, fan of neo-realism, or someone wanting to get a glimpse of a better world in cinema in these days of cineplex garbage, it's highly reccomendable.
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.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
C. A. Talley
- Published on Amazon.com
This film, stands on its own. The longing and warmth Mr. Scorsese transmits to its audience (It feels its talking to you and your friends in your living room on a lazy sunday morning) is enough to get this work, not counting the editing and coments intersecting the pieces of gold plated italian films.
If you want to start to undestand Scorsese's work listen to the impression these films imprint on his brain and heart.
This DVD wont dissapoint nor cinematography students nor casual viewers.
Caveat: Its 4 hours. Be prepared.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I've always been curious about European film since so much has been written of it--and so little of it played here in the States!
Martin Scorsese has made an excellent DVD that touches on his earliest influences and provides a tour of the Italian cinema from its beginning to its critical zenith in the 1950's and 1960's.
I would recommend this DVD for anyone with any interest in foreign films. With Scorsese as a guide, you'll not only see the highlights and subtleties of each film, but you'll get historical details and a better understanding of the context from the narration.
I'll definitely be checking out Scorsese's previous "personal journey" after watching MY VOYAGE TO ITALY.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a very personal introduction to Italian neo-realism and the new directions of Italian cinema in the early 1960's. Scorcese's affection for Italian cinema is obvious and his discussion of the directors (Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Fellini, Antonioni)and their films is informative and insightful if also a bit tedious at times. Scorcese does not pretend to be a film scholar and he does not pretend to be offering a critical analysis of the movement or of the directors or of their films; instead he offers a film fans (albeit a very knowledgable film fans) enthusiasm for the subject matter. This approach has its strengths as Scorcese's enthusiasm is at times infectious, however, I, at times, wanted to hear a more critical appraisal/assessment of these films instead of merely a plot summary (Scorcese gives very detailed plot and theme summaries of several key films: My Italian Voyage, I Vitelloni, L'Avventura, L'Eclipse, La Dolca Vita, 8 1/2). I also wanted to hear a bit more about what was going on in other national cinemas during the same period (other national cinemas are mentioned only once and even then only very briefly). This is a documentary about Italian cinema but an occasional reference to French and American, as well as Indian, Latin and Japanese cinema may have allowed us to contextualize neo-realism. World Cinema became a phenomenon for the first time after WWII and it seems worth noting that there was a lot of cross-cultural influence going on especially in the 50's and 60's. The French specifically had their own very interesting pre- and post-WWII cinema and there were plenty of gritty noirs coming from America and England in the 30's and 40's. I think a mention and comparison of these parallel movements may have proved interesting and insightful. As it is we get a very personal journey through one national cinema and it does feel like a sentimental journey at times despite the decidely unsentimental subject matter of many the films under review.
The first disc of this two DVD set deals primarily with neo-realism and on this disc Scorcese talks mainly about how he felt about these films when he first saw them as a child or teen but he never discusses whether his judgements of particular films changed over the years or just how the experience of seeing a film at the age of 6 is different from seeing the same film at the age 16 or 26 or 36 or 66. We get an account of the enthusiastic first impressions these films made on the young and very impressionable Martin Scorcese (and the fact that these films remind him of a certain time in his own youth and family) mixed with the sober reflections of a discriminating and accomplished film maker who is also a film fan. But we don't hear Scorcese discuss how his own evaluative process developed and matured and changed over the years nor how a child most likely experiences and appreciates cinema in quite a different way than does the discriminating adult film maker. Nor do we hear any discussion of the extent to which Scorcese formed his own aesthetic in reponse to (or as a reaction against) the aesthetics of the Italian film makers he admires (or why neo-realism felt limiting to some film makers) . So we don't get a critical view of the movement (what it revealed as well as what it concealed; what were its strengths as well as weakneses) nor of the films themselves so much as an appreciation of them. Nor do we get a critical assessment of how Scorcese the artist chose his influences and how he used/altered/evolved those things that he saw and admired in these films in his own films. Thus despite the fact that he does engage with 25 or so films this documentary feels more like a four hour sightseeing tour than an artist's substantive voyage into film history. At least the first two hour disc does.
The second disc where Scorcese talks about early 1960's cinema is much stronger because Scorcese was an older more discriminating film fan when he first saw Fellini's and Antonioni's early work for the first time and so his account of of these films is much more substantive and analytical. And it is also these two film makers that seem to mean the most to him and have played the biggest part in shaping his own view of the world. Some of the shot by shot analysis of Visconti's Senso, Antonioni's L'Eclipse and Fellini's 8 1/2 is pure film class stuff that film students will greatly appreciate.
I think if you have only a passing interest in Italian neo-realism and early 60's Italian cinema then you will probably be assisted by Scorcese's enthusiasms but if you are a film fanatic and you really want to know about this period in cinema history then Scorcese's personal touches and interjections of personal history may feel like an interference. The neo-realist films pride themselves on their almost documentary like objectivity and lucidity but this documentary of the movement is full of flashes of Scorcese's own sentiments. The treatment of Italian neo-realism feels a little compromised for that reason. The treatment of early 60's films is, on the other hand, much more impersonal and therefore much more intellectually stimulating and engaging.
Scorcese makes a point of saying that this is a personal and not a scholarly journey. If you want an objective account of Italian neo-realism or an account of this national cinema from the Italian film artists themselves then you should probably look elsewhere.