My Voyage to Italy (1999) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
26 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
How does a filmmaker get out of being asked in every interview what films influence him? He makes a movie about them.
shesanopenbook14 July 2004
How does a filmmaker get out of being asked in every interview what films influence him? He makes a movie about them. Martin Scorsese's lengthy documentary, My Voyage to Italy has been making the rounds on film festival circuit since 1999. It is now available to the general public on two-disc DVD.

Scorsese says in the beginning of My Voyage to Italy that his film was made so that people, especially today's youth, can realize that not all great films are born deep in the heart of Hollywood, USA. Scorsese directs and narrates this documentary about the history of Italian cinema. My Voyage to Italy includes home video from Scorsese's childhood and footage from 24 movies made between 1914 and 1966. It is these films that inspired him to become one of America's most well known and beloved directors. Scorsese gives us plot points, character descriptions and even endings of each classic film, pointing out specific elements that make the movie great. He tells us the strengths and weaknesses of each film and what he got out of it. At one point, he even shows us the same scene twice so we can spot exactly what he wants us to see. And, although you know the ending of these films, you are somehow still compelled to go out and see them anyway. It is as if he is a close friend who is describing a movie he just saw and tells you to go see it. This is a person whose opinion you can have confidence in.

The films featured in My Voyage to Italy opened the door for today's writers and directors. In a time where free speech was only something the press could take advantage of, many of the films were considered scandalous and provoked boycotts and law suits in the US. Roberto Rossellini's film Il Miracolo (The Miracle) prompted a US court to rule that filmmakers are entitled to the same freedom of speech as the media. Where would modern cinema be without this landmark decision?

Scorsese's main influences were the films made during the Italian neo-realism movement. All of the films in the genre focused on the reality of World War II; the horrors and sacrifice, liberation and compassion; all of the emotions felt during that time are on the screen, giving the audience little-to-no optimism or silver-lining. Through these films, the viewer experiences the filmmaker's response to that moment in history. They were not about a hero or a villain, but about life during and after the most extensive and costly war in the history of the world. Through these movies, Scorsese was subjected to the true Italian life and culture he couldn't experience at home in New York.

My Voyage to Italy should be required viewing for people who want to pursue a career in film; it is like a four-hour advanced film class that is as interesting as it is entertaining. It is obvious to the viewer that the films Scorsese highlights are dear to his heart. Based on the films that he loves, you can clearly see their influence reflected in the darker movies he has directed. Films like Taxi Driver and Goodfellas came to life because of the old movies he watched on the tiny black-and-white TV in his childhood home.

Before watching My Voyage to Italy, I had never seen even a frame of a film by Rossellini or Federico Fellini. Now, I feel compelled to go out and study each one. That, I suppose, was Scorsese's intention all along.
31 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Master Class
cineaste-428 May 2002
Maybe if I lived in New York, perhaps I'd have the chance to take a master class in cinema; but I don't and I haven't. So warmly grateful I was along with a half-full house Memorial Day morning at the Seattle International Film Festival to absorb Scorsese's generous tutorial on Italian neo-realism. Of the dozen or more films filleted, I'd never laid eyes on three-quarters of them. The four-hour experience was like taking a double-tank dive to a sunken ship and coming back up with treasures. I'll definitely find a way to see "Open City", "Paisa", "Senso" and "Eclipse". Scorsese's gentle, loving commentary as he sends us sailing on a sea of images is so intimate and, occasionally, so humorous that I felt my heart grow inside me. This documentary will take you deep into a humanity that most Americans have never empathetically understood. This film is an event in maturity, an act of love.
12 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Master Crash-Course On Post-War Neo-Realist Italian Cinema
aw-komon-229 October 2001
Instead of doing commentary on the DVDs of his favorite Italian films, which he probably could do better than anyone else alive, being a masterfully adept teacher as well as the greatest working American director, Scorsese has decided to make his own film about them so he could relate them to his own development as a director. He relates how in the late '40s and early '50s, early Neo-Realist masterworks such as "Paisa" were shown often on New York area TV because of the large Italian-American population there, and what an indelible mark they made on him, a kid used to escapist Hollywood films. The films Scorsese's talking about, of course, are those of Rossellini, De Sica, Fellini, Visconti, and Antonioni. He leaves out some of the lesser known master directors such as Valerio Zurlini and Francesco Rossi, but does drop in a fascinating little visit to the beautifully dreamlike and nearly forgotten films of Alessandro Blasetti (1860, Fabiola) in his discussion of the common elements, born of a 2000 year old tradition, of Italian-made fantasy films and neo-realist films, as opposed to most Hollywood films.

Scorsese's sense of humor and eye for bizarre detail and the hilariously nuanced absurdities of some of these films are in top form throughout, and it's quite obvious from the get-go that he knows these films like the back of his hand. He's so passionate about these films that often his voice falters a little as you can hear him audibly moved to the point of tears in the voice-over!

The films he goes into in considerable detail are "ROME, OPEN CITY," "PAISA," "GERMANY: YEAR ZERO," "STROMBOLI," "AMORE," "ST. FRANCIS OF THE FLOWERS," "EUROPA 51," "VOYAGE TO ITALY," "SHOESHINE," "BICYCLE THIEF," "GOLD OF NAPLES," "OSSESSIONE," "LA TERRA TREMA," "SENSO" (Scorsese uses a breathtakingly beautiful restored print when discussing this technicolor Visconti film), "I VITELLONI" (the direct inspiration for "Mean Streets," as well as George Lucas' "American Graffitti"), "LA DOLCE VITA," "L'AVVENTURA," "THE ECLIPSE," and then closes the nearly 4 and half hour discussion with a brilliantly wide-scoped dissection of his favorite Italian film: "8-1/2."
24 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Absorbing Italian Collection
harry-7623 June 2002
Martin Scorsese has compiled a fascinating personal documentary in "Mio viaggio in Italia." What makes this so compelling is the compassion with which Scorsese renders his selections.

He admits to having discovered these films, from his childhood to adulthood, not through reading about them (as in a film textbook) but actually experiencing them in the theater. His passion for these works and their directors exudes with great enthusiasm, which becomes infectious.

The films are not superficially presented, but rather in substantial enough portions as to allow one to glean their essence--at the same time, without ruining seeing the entire work.

His interpretive commentaries reveal one who has been deeply affected by these productions, and who has given great thought to their meaning and significance.

For the film buff, this is a most engrossing journey; for the young person new to Italian cinema, this is a valuable introduction to an artistic treasure chest.
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Incredible Influence
jzappa20 February 2007
Intense and prolific filmmaker Martin Scorsese did not seem to be satisfied with projecting the influence he drew from Italian films from the 1940s, '50s, and '60s on his own films. So, he spends four solid hours explaining the details and expressions of at least thirty films, all condensed into about ten minutes each. He analyzes and discloses trivia about each of them and pours out all of his passion into this like water bore over his shoulders that he can't bear anymore.

For awhile, I was wondering why he would spend so much time doing this. Why make a movie wherein most of the footage is taken from other movies? Why examine a condensed version of each film from beginning to end when we may want to see these movies ourselves? Well, after awhile, I realized the point of this. Scorsese had a very important reason why he wanted to make this epic documentary. It's because these films are what made him the filmmaker he is, not to mention the person he is, and their effects have not weakened throughout time. So, he wants to perpetuate their lives. He wants to interest younger generations, such as mine, in these films and their makers.

And I'll tell you what. It works. I am now very interested in seeing a lot of these movies. I realize I have not seen nearly enough films by Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, or Vittorio De Sica. And I plan to, thanks to Scorsese's film.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Immensely intriguing study of a (personal) history of Italian cinema, silent, neo-realist, and new wave
Quinoa198431 July 2003
In the beginning and end of Mi Viaggio Di Italia (My Voyage to Italy), legend 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 tragic/comedies of the 50's, 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, smarter world in cinema in these days of cineplex garbage, it's a lenghty treat. A+
15 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Because the Academy Awards Don't Mean A Thing...
honeybearrecords9 March 2005
MY VOYAGE TO ITALY (directed by Martin Scorsese) What is it that's so relaxing about Martin Scorsese's voice? I don't know. I've talked to a few different people and we all find his voice to be so comforting. Plus he's smart. I loved his contribution to BFI's 100 Years of Cinema (released in the states as "A Personal Journey") and I really love the documentary "Martin Scorsese Directs" from the American Masters series. I've watched them both over and over.

So now I can add another documentary to that list with "My Voyage To Italy". Studying the most important age in film worldwide, Neo Realism, he examines the main players and their major films in a way that is engaging without condescension or over-statistical, boredom. The guy really loves movies and he knows what's important.

His film history is just one of many alternative histories to the one championed by film critics static in their culture and prejudices. In writing about Rossellini, De Sica, Fellini and my hero Antonioni he writes about what he loves and what he sees as important. He even picks films that were seen as disasters financially and critically pointing out how their importance was more profound than such predictable criteria. For example, Rossellini's "Voyage To Italy" was a critical and financial failure but what championed by the Cahiers Du Cinema writers like Godard and Truffaut.

Scorcese's narration is smart and so loving that from anyone else you would think it pitiful. But in this situation, it's inspiring and just great storytelling.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An extremely intimate view of Italian Cinema of 50's & 60's
gortx27 June 2004
This is less a documentary than a visual diary of one man's selective view of Italian Cinema of the 50's & 60's. Of course, when that man is Martin Scorsese, it demands the attention of cineastes worldwide. In the introduction, one could assume that Scorsese will give a general view of the Italian films he saw as a child and as a young adult. But soon, he plunges into a hour plus mini-documentary of Roberto Rossellini. This is certainly understandable not only because Rossellini was a seminal Italian filmmaker, but because Scorsese in fact married into the family (via his ex Isabella). From there it's on to Visconti, De Sica, Fellini and Antonioni. And, that's about all. A few other filmmakers are touched upon briefly, but those five comprise the heart of the nearly 4 hour long film. Of course, rarely has a country given the world cinema a quintet as gifted as these five men. Still, it would have been illustrative if Scorsese had donated perhaps half and hour of the picture to a survey of the other Italian filmmakers of the era. These are mere quibbles, however. For no world class filmmaker (with the possible exception of Truffuat) has ever poured out so much emotion and depth of understanding for other directors as Scorsese has here. The portrayal of Rossellini in particular will be hard-pressed to ever be equaled - let alone surpassed. A demanding, yet essential film history.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An alluring view of cinema Italia with someone who definitely knows his stuff.
TheVid21 June 2002
I definitely enjoyed an evening watching Turner Classic Movies listening to Martin Scorsese discuss his appreciation and affection for many of the formative films of Italian cinema, particularly the neo-realism movement and the post-war works of Rossellini, De Sica, Fellini, Visconti and Antonioni. So personal is this documentary, that it was like spending an evening with a friend sharing a mutual interest; and for those with an interest in International cinema, this is a rare treat. My suggestion is to hunt down as many of these films as you can find on video, then view them on the biggest television you can find. Among the more obscure and brilliant works discussed are PAISAN, GERMANY-YEAR ZERO, OSSESSIONE, SENSO, L'ECLISSE and I VITELLONI; along with more popular masterpieces, OPEN CITY, BICYCLE THIEF, LA DOLCE VITA, EIGHT AND A HALF and L'AVVENTURA. Superb!
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Thank You Martin Scorsese!
Zen Bones28 October 2001
There are so few people today who are interested in the great films of yesteryear. That's sad on many levels, but one of the more ironic reasons is that many of the directors who are so loved today could not have made the great films they did, had they not been so deeply inspired by the films of the past. Especially by the period of neo-realism in Italian Cinema (1940s-1960s).

There's no way anyone could make a bad documentary about this era, since the films themselves have such a strong impact that any clips would be fascinating. But Scorsese has given us his very personal experience of these films, and that gives each of the films some context. Those of us who can remember seeing these films for the first time can relive the experience with Scorsese, exactly as if they were seeing the films for the first time. It also makes one think back on all the most important films in our personal lives. The films that first gave the world dimension, and the films that first made us worship the potential that great cinema has.

The main directors featured are Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Lucino Visconti, Michaelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini, and Scorsese lovingly takes his time showing us numerous clips from most of their greatest films. I was lucky enough to see this documentary in a cinema, and I hope others will also have that chance. Most of the films featured I'd only seen on video. Some I'd liked a lot, others I loved, but nothing prepared me for the impact of seeing those images on the big screen! But even if you can only catch this on video or DVD, do your best to see it. It's what I call "sacred cinema"!
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Bravo Scorsese!!
olddiscs15 January 2005
I received this great documentary as a Xmas gift & finally got around to watching Other night..Its a wonderful experience... Martin Scorsese's enthusiasm for the Italian cinema .. is so honest so exciting.. he has a passion for this topic...& it shows..He anaylyzes the Italian film industry from the neo realist films of the mid 1940s thru the 60s the films of his childhood.. I'm an Italian American of similar age and background.. and I was so thrilled by this documentary i was moved to tears several times..He mentions the obvious films such as Open City, La Dolce Vita etc & mentions obscurities as well such as Rossellinis "Vacation in Italy" with Ingrid Bergaman & George Sanders never knew of this film.. I loved it..I regret a few omissions such as the mention of Rocco and His Brothers, and no mention at all of Silvana Mangano & her films esp..Bitter Rice..oh well maybe Scorsese is working on a part 2..please wonderful film documentary!!
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
1st Class Ticket to Italian Neo-Realism - $9
j*28 October 2001
I had a dream, about a week before I even knew this film existed, that Martin Scorsese was talking to me about film in his clipped and articulate way. I was finishing the book, 'Easy Riders and Raging Bulls' as bedtime reading, so I didn't see this as a premonition.

I just got back from a month in Italy and was working on a home movie edit called, 'Jason's Trip to Italy' when I was invited to see this film called, coincidentally, 'My Voyage to Italy.'

I hate having movies 'ruined' by trailers and critiques that tell more about the beats and plot points than they do about the relevance of the subject so I read nothing before coming. I knew I'd see a Martin Scorsese film, so there was no need to know any of the actors or the plot.

It's not a travelogue.

Ironically, this film digests a whole collection of classic Italian films I hadn't seen. In one 4 hour and 16 minute fell swoop, Thelma Schoonmaker and Martin Scorsese reveal plot points and the endings of dozens of films! (There was a 10 minute intermission where I saw it.)

It's worth it. The films aren't 'ruined,' they're appreciated, and made more appreciable. So read what you can before, after and even -during- the film. Bring a notepad. This is an incredible opportunity to have Italian neo-realism taught by our apparent friend, Martin Scorsese.

He shows clips from Italian classics that -will- blow endings, important plot points and so forth, but will entice you to see them, too. You may want to see these films first, as a primer. I don't remember all the films he touched on, which is part of why I recommend taking notes, but some of them are:

*Michelangelo Antonioni: L'Eclisse, L'Avventura *Vittorio de Sica: Umberto D., I Ladri Biciclette, Matrimonia All'Italia *Federico Fellini: I Vittelino, 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita *Rossellini: Paisa, Europa '51, Il Miraculo, Stromboli, Germania Anno Zero, Roma Citta Aperta, Viaggio in Italia *Alessandro Blasetti: La Corona Di Ferro, 1860...and a few others that my brain is refusing to recall, including a fantastic color film about a degenerate Austrian officer that takes advantage of an Italian duchess.

This is a deeply personal film for Scorsese, and it's his impassioned plea to reinvigorate our modern culture to see these classics. If you see the films beforehand, you'll want to see this film even more.

If you love film, this will consummate that love. It's like finding a whole new dating pool!
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A poetic history of Italian cinema!!!
artihcus02227 August 2009
This is a documentary about movies. It is also a masterpiece that can be appreciated on it's own terms. IL MIO VIAGGIO IN ITALIA is an essay film that uses clips from Italian masters(Visconti, DeSica, Fellini, Antonioni and above all RossellinI) not in the club footed manner of Oscar montages, but with the care and attention of detail of an art historian contemplating Renaissance architecture. It's like the scene in F FOR FAKE when Welles looks at the Chartes cathedral, the same sense of elegy and beauty, and defiance.

But just as importantly, the film is about Scorsese himself. He begins by noting that the total absence of non-American films in the cultural landscape and the influence these films had on him. Then he shares recently uncovered video footage of his father(who Scorsese resembles a great deal) as a young man and then footage of street life in New York as a boy. The film goes through each Italian film step-by-step, inch-by-inch and the effect generated by the use of the clips is very poetic. At the end of the film, Scorsese talks about Fellini's 8 1/2, a film about a film-maker who goes through a period of crisis, of reflection and then resumes rejuvenated and full of affirmation of life.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I'll go to the movies with Marty anyday!
gedhead9 December 2003
I have watched this documentary on SBS television, which broke the film up into a five part series. My initial curiosity to see a respected and innovative director speak about some of his favorite films has turned into an amazing fascination and unexpected, delightful education in Italian cinema! Scorsese's commentary makes all the difference - humorous (loved the story about going to the barber!), insightful, passionate, and at times overwhelming intimate. Sometimes I could swear he's sitting on the other couch, pointing out significant and personal moments in the film clips for me. I certainly am inspired to rent some of these films from our local library, as well as revisit some of Scorsese's own works to compare the influence. No self respecting film fan should miss this opportunity to learn from one of the greatest film makers (and film fanatic in his own right) of our time. When are we going to the movies again, Marty? I'll buy the popcorn!!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A laborious kind of Disney Time
federovsky9 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Four hours of Martin Scorsese talking us through his favourite Italian (mainly neo-realist) films. The format is odd. The problem is not that we don't get to see much of Scorsese - he appears only occasionally - but that he basically presents condensed versions of entire films - lots of them one after the other, using an extensive series of clips over which he narrates the story from beginning to end, giving away everything. This is annoying, and it is necessary to keep fast-forwarding in order to avoid all the spoilers.

Rossellini gets most attention - a third of the film is devoted to him. Rome Open City, Paisan, Flowers of St Francis, and Viaggio in Italia are all treated in depth. The others, and the films that he singles out to rave about, are: Visconti (Senso), Fellini, (I Vitelloni), De Sica (Gold of Naples) and Antonioni (L'Avventura) - although many others touched on in less detail.

Scorsese insists repeatedly that these films influenced his own work, but at no point gives any particular examples, and it's hard to see any. Where is the realism and the humanism in Scorsese's films? He admires Viaggio in Italia for not leaping from one climax to the next, instead allowing the drama to unfold through small moments - and yet breaks that precept completely in The Aviator.

It's relentless adulation rather than critical assessment, and that becomes dull. Without adding enough critical value, it's hard to understand the point of the whole exercise.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An epic about an epic about epics.
eye39 June 2002
In A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, (1995) (TV), the eponymous legendary director took us on a proverbial tour of his old neighborhood: the Hollywood movies of the 30s, 40s and 50s which were his school on screen.

He now takes us on a second tour of his early influences, this time of early post-war Italian cinema which he recalls growing up watching on an Italian t.v. station in New York, albeit dubbed into English.

Want to know those influences? Buy it and watch it.

Like with the earlier documentary, this one is an immediate collection standard for everyone from the movie buff to Scorsese's heirs-in-the-making. You may be tempted to watch it through as I tried to one Friday night on a cable broadcast. You'd be better off watching it in segments al la the film school classroom. I know I will.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Another "personal journey" from Martin Scorsese
ejcarney19 April 2002
I have heard that the organizers of the 2002 Minneapolis/St. Paul Int'l Film Festival worked mightily to bring us this film. If that is true, I'd like to thank them for their efforts. I came to this film happily, having enjoyed Scorsese's "Personal Journey Through American Movies". Although less wide-ranging than the previous film, this one is sure to confirm Scorsese's place among the people whom we'd most enjoy watching movies with.

This film is, in some ways, much more personal. It opens with Scorsese reminiscing about his upbringing in the province of Sicily that his part of lower Manhattan became after the wave of Italian immigrants in the early part of the 20th Century. He talks about his family and his neighborhood. Each brownstone on Elizabeth St. became an outpost of a different Sicilian town. Scorsese jokes that it took many years before people from different buildings would intermarry. One of the highlights of this section is home movie footage shot by one of Scorsese's uncles. It is very poignant and moving.

He goes on to describe how he watched Italian films on a small B&W television. Badly dubbed and edited as they were, their power came through to the young boy. Scorsese uses this nostalgic opening to lead in to his history of post-war (mostly) Italian film and an analysis of its techniques and its importance. There is some coverage of prewar directors (including Alessandro Blasetti), but the film mostly covers the period from WWII to Fellini's 8½.

Scorsese spends a great deal of time on many films. His discussions are not geared to make pretentious insights, although insights abound; rather, it seems to be his intent to give us as much information as possible. He tells us about the characters, the plot, the techniques and lets us see for ourselves with extensive clips. He wants to convince us to see these films. If that was his intent, he is largely successful. I know I'll never willingly pass up another opportunity to see an Italian film.

Scorsese, it is reported, is working on another film to bring his idiosyncratic survey (I mean that in a nice way!) up to the present. I hope that is true. If you have a chance to see this film, make every effort to do so. It will be 4 hours well spent.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
MY VOYAGE TO ITALY {Parts I & II} (Martin Scorsese, 1999) ***1/2
Bunuel197615 November 2017
I've often claimed that I admire Martin Scorsese far more as a film historian than as a film-maker & something like this only reaffirms that notion. While I've watched A PERSONAL JOURNEY WITH MARTIN SCORSESE THROUGH American CINEMA (1995) years ago, I've only managed now to catch up with its follow-up; although it doesn't seem to me that the previous documentary was as selective as this one, his later (& much shorter) A LETTER TO ELIA (2010) was equally choosy. While in a way this stringent choice of material - in this case, some 20 movies discussed over a 4-hour time slot - makes for a rigorous analysis of the films in question (almost playing like a selected, scene-specific audio commentary from a distinguished fan), one can't help feeling that the movies or film-makers which have been bypassed are being unjustly discriminated against! Yet, this is Scorsese speaking about the handful of Italian movies that have meant the most to him on a personal & artistic there are (mainly) 8 Rossellinis, 4 De Sicas, 3 Viscontis, 3 Fellinis & 2 Antonionis. As much as I enjoyed listening to him dissecting each of these films for 10 minutes at a time, the fact that he (mostly) concentrates on celebrated World Cinema classics to begin with also means that he is not really stating anything new (unlike, say, his then-'surprising' championing of Allan Dwan's neglected oater SILVER LODE [1954] in his previous documentary which had stuck with me enough to purchase the film on DVD much later on & come to love it myself)! While I can understand that some of the omitted titles just might not have been available to view as he was growing up, some of the missing stuff IS perplexing: he doesn't mention De Sica's classic MIRACLE IN MILAN (1951) but instead concentrates on the lesser-known THE GOLD OF NAPLES (1954; the only film included I've yet to watch) & skips over LA NOTTE (1961) when he gets to Antonioni's famous trilogy! He also commits the common mistake of dismissing Rossellini's work between his Bergman & TV phases (1955-1965); I, for one, am glad that his VIVA L'ITALIA (1961) is being released on BluRay by Arrow next year in 2 versions! Again, the decision on what to include may have willfully been restricted to his formative years...but, the thing is, he is so good at analysing the films included that one longs to learn his opinion on lesser-known masterpieces like Mario Monicelli's THE GREAT WAR (1959), Luigi Comenicini's EVERYBODY GO HOME! (1960), Dino Risi's THE EASY LIFE {IL SORPASSO} (1962), Vittorio Cottafavi's THE 100 HORSEMEN (1964) & Valerio Zurlini's THE CAMP FOLLOWERS (1965)! His complete passing over of Mario Bava, Pasolini & Bertolucci is genuinely baffling, to say the least...but, for what it's worth, what is included makes one yearn to watch the films again & it served as a personal reminder that some of these I've only watched once ages ago!!
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Interesting but not exactly what I hoped to see.
MartinHafer21 July 2013
"My Voyage to Italy" is a great film if you are trying to look into the mind of Martin Scorsese or if you are a film student. He talks very candidly about himself and about his adoration of Italian movies and is wonderful for his dedication to film preservation and appreciation. However, if you want to learn about some great Italian films so you can watch them yourself, "y Voyage to Italy" also has a few problems. It isn't a complete overview of great Italian films but a look at Italian films that Scorsese loves and the films ONLY covers a couple decades of cinema. Therefore, it is not exhaustive and many wonderful films from this same period (about 1943 to the mid-1960s) are omitted. And, most importantly, Scorsese not only talks about the films but divulges ALL the endings and twists and meaning--possibly ruining the viewing experience for anyone looking to follow his recommendations for great films to watch. Now all this does not seem like enough that you should completely avoid his film--there are some interesting insights into the films and Scorsese's mind. Just be aware of all this before you decide to watch--it could spoil your chance to experience the films without preconceptions and too much information.

As for me, I mildly enjoyed it but was saddened that some of Vittorio De Sica's best films were not even mentioned (probably because he is my personal favorite of these directors). While "The Bicycle Thief" is perhaps his most famous film he directed and I did love Scorsese's discussion of "Umberto D.", the much lesser known and earlier "The Children Are Watching Us" is, in my mind, his very best--and it's an incredibly brave film that predated the ones discussed in "My Voyage to Italy". Now I cannot blame Scorsese for not mentioning it--the film has only recently been re-released by Criterion. An additional film, though, that he should have seen but didn't mention was "Miracle in Milan"--a film that combines wonderful Neo-Realism with the Surrealism that Fellini was known for--but MUCH earlier in the history of Italian cinema. It is brilliantly quirky. Likewise, I would have loved a discussion of Fellini's films between "I Vitelloni" and "La Dulce Vida"--as films like "La Strada" and "Nights of Cabiria" seem oddly absent from Scorsese's discussion.

Perhaps I am too picky--especially since I have seen most of the films he discusses. And, perhaps I am too critical because of my adoration of foreign cinema. Plus, I realize I do have very, very strong opinions! All I know is that I did enjoy the film but really would have preferred a most exhaustive and comprehensive overview--but it would have probably lasted 10-12 hours or more! When they bring out some film like this, please let me know!
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
cultural resonance
conannz30 August 2002
Really enjoyed the perspective of film maker Scorsese on these featured films in this documentary. Also useful to understand the links between transplanted Sicilians in NY and the TV demographic that Martin grew up with. I have to say that not all the movies are as powerful in their impact to me- a non Italian but that is not a criticism.

I really liked the way that a nations films convey a sense of history and culture and transmit that through universal themes to the present day and somehow translate further to other viewers in other cultures. It was great to have a context for many of the films reviewed. To balance the cultural resonance, universal themes and capture the human dimensions of the day is a grand thing and many of the movies featured did this. I particularly enjoyed the musical cadence influences in Senso. A great way to spend an afternoon.

Update - 2006: Original viewing (above) was a film festival and was a bit of a (4hrs) marathon at the time. More recently I have viewed a DVD version which is easier to absorb. As a study of mostly neo realism in Italian and French film it now seems much more powerful as we get to see how different directors responded to the changes around them to get their films made in difficult times. In effect it is personal fim criticism by a master who has used the films in the documentary as part of his film story.

As it includes clips from directors - Antonioni, Di Sica, Fellini, Renoir, Rossellini, Visconti and Blasetti as well as snaps from other films of the time - it is a great place to explore Italian cinema from.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
More of a film course than a film.
AnonII8 June 2002
A vanity piece, of sorts, that could be retitled "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Italian Film History But Were Afraid to Ask...Martin Scorsese." Wonderfully informative, touching and insightful for the first 2 to 3 hours or so, but exhaustive and exhausting after that. Viva Italia, Basta Scorsese!
1 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Lost interest after a while! 4/10
leonblackwood12 November 2014
Review: Man, this 4 hour documentary really seemed to go on forever. It's full of footage from the early years in Italian cinema, but I don't think that I have ever watched an Italian movie. At first, I did find it quite interesting because it was good to see how far the world of cinema has progressed, but I lost interest after a while. I liked when Scorsese was talking about his family and how it was to grow up in America back in the early years, but once he starts to get into the various directors and actors that influenced him to make movies, I did drift off a couple of times. My main problem with the documentary was that I hadn't seen or heard of any of the movies that Scorsese was talking about, so I didn't have a clue why the movies were so important back in a day and age when I wasn't born yet. I can understand how the movies had changed his life, but it's a world that I really can't relate to. In all, it's a well put together documentary which gives a deep insight into a Italian cinema, but you have to have an interest in this genre to be able to find the whole 4 hour experience interesting. Average!

Round-Up: Scorsese really hasn't lost his touch nowadays, and he is still pulling in huge audiences at the box office. This documentary really does show that he was a lover of movies at a really early age and it gives a complete different point of view about the world of cinema. With movies like the Taxi Driver "You Talking To Me", to films like Goodfellas and Casino, I doubt that were ever going to get a director that can mix deep drama with heavy violence so well. After watching were he got his influences from, it really doesn't seem like he would ever make movies the way that he does. Maybe thats because of his unique vision which your everyday person well never be able to create, write or direct, because he is coming from such a different angle which is deeply rooted inside him. As I director, I rate him highly, but as a documentary, it's just way too long.

Budget: N/A Domestic Gross: $11,600

I recommend this movie to people who are into there documentaries which show the many movies and actors which have influenced Martin Scorsese to make movies. 4/10
0 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Umberto D: flic or flick---the dog????? flag- the yearling??????
ishmaelite24 July 2005
Trivia or not, the fact that M.S. refers repeatedly to Umberto's D.'s dog in this film as "Flag" has been driving me nuts. I have seen this great movie several times and there's no way, the actor enunciates Flag: the terrier's name is pronounced, "Fleek."

I always thought it was a little homage to the french/American slang for flick(s), (alt. plural flix.) I doubted it was the french slang for cop i.e "flic")

Undoubtedly other sites that include Umberto D have hashed over this subject ad N . My big problem is that Mr. S. knows more about film than almost anyone - historically included. And HE says it's Flag.

It's quite likely the filmmakers had seen read m.k. rawlings book and seen the surprisingly impressive move. Rawlings and deSica shared a unflinching worldview, sensitivity not sentimentality. That said, I will always remain an aflickionata, but I'd love to be enlightened if I'm missing something.
0 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Film
SL80KE8125 January 2003
A towering piece of work. The films of Rossellini and De Sica are like prayers. As Italy wakes up from it's nightmare, these simple films help people to rediscover their humanity. The importance of these films cannot be overstated.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Truly a delight to watch!
rlasaro23 June 2002
Martin Scorsese's documentation of Italian cinema was an education for me. Being 1st generation Italian, I gained a better understanding of my parents and nonni's political and cultural experience. Thank you Martin for compiling these great works of art. I look forward to sharing this video with family and friends.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed