29
Oct 03

The first hour and a half of Martin Scorsese’s Il Mio Viaggio In Italia

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Last night I saw the first hour and a half of Martin Scorsese’s Il Mio Viaggio In Italia, which has convinced me that if Marty ever gives up directing he is a shoe-in for film school lecturing. It is basically a personal history of Italian cinema, told by someone who is up-front straight away that this is not an academic look. As such, he spends much of the pre-amble pointing out the intersection between his family and the process of seeing these films. He brings up the power of seeing “the old country” on film, that his viewing fills in certain gaps in his own past. His own history is one of film.

Scorsese – despite his oddly distracting bulbous nose – is a terrific narrator. Not only does he get across his enthusiasm for the Italian films he loves but this also makes it clear that this is his history of Italian cinema. A history where he sees films out of order, where his love for Rossellini overpowers all of his acceptance of some of Rossellini’s possibly rubbish films, and one where he is control of the meaning. Luckily he also makes this clear, he does not expect us to see Berlin, Year Zero in the way he did (slightly disappointed that there are no Sicillians in it). Once the film gets past its preamble, and that is half an hour, I then spent an hour watching him slowly dissect only four Rossellini films. Whilst I am sure I do not agree with him, or will not agree with him, about the absolute majesty of each film – fuck me he made me want to see them properly. Opinionated in a self deprecating way, I only wish I had a chance to see the other mooted eight hours of this documentary. Put this on instead of Gangs Of New York and I would be there like a shot.

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