My Voyage To Italy (Il mio viaggio in Italia)

My Voyage To Italy (Il mio viaggio in Italia)

Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Mr Bongo Records

Release date: September 26th, 2011
Certificate (UK): U
Running time: 236 minutes

Year of production: 1999

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writers: Kent Jones, Raffaele Donato, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Martin Scorsese

Cast: Martin Scorsese

Italy has long been on my list of destinations I’ve been wanting to visit. I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened yet, maybe it’s something to do with my pennies just not stretching that far.

It’s a place so rich in two things I enjoy – food and film.

Here we have one of my all-time favourite directors, Martin Scorsese, showing us exactly what Italy has to offer for film-aholics like me. In My Voyage To Italy, he walks us through Italian cinema history and shares with us his personal stories; when he first saw certain films, what they felt like, what they meant to him and how they’ve influenced not only him, but Italy and the world in general.

My Voyage To Italy

Scorsese pays specific attention to the Italian neorealist period, and for me, this is an area of cinema history I find to be among the most fascinating and rewarding in terms of their stories and visual style. It comes as no surprise when he turns his focus to filmmakers like Michelangelo Antonioni and Luchino Visconti, but my interest is peaked when he comes around to Federico Fellini and the film that people most often recall in connection with Italy, La Dolce Vita (1960).

There are also fascinating insights when it comes to Vittorio de Sica and what is most definitely a film I firmly list in my All-Time Top 10 – The Bicycle Thief (1948). Scorsese takes time to explain the mise-en-scène and how de Sica was also influenced by the early German expressionist movement. Of the film, he says”

“This was the movie that many people around the world regarded as the peak moment of neorealism”

The Bicycle Thieves

A lot of time is spent on Roberto Rossellini films, showing an obvious affection for his work with discussion on Roma, Città Aperta (1945), Paisà (1946) and Viaggio In Italia (1953); Blasetti’s 1860 (1934), Fabiola and La Corona di Ferro (1941).

It’s a lengthy documentary and my only disdain is that it’s far too long, but given that Scorsese speaks so passionately and that this is something that directors of his stature rarely do, I’m more than ready to overlook it. In fact, it would be great if other directors could follow in his footsteps with their own film/travel logs.

Anyone who is interested in cinema history would be careless to miss this. There’s much that can be learnt here, not just about Italian films, but in the way Scorsese has viewed them over the years, absorbing them and allowing them to ferment in his consciousness which he then feeds back to us with his own masterpieces like Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980).

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