My Voyage to Italy (Martin Scorsese, 1999)
Often regarded as one of the great auteurs of American cinema, Martin Scorsese’s career – which includes classics such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas – speaks for itself. One of his lesser-known works, the documentary My Voyage to Italy, is now arriving on DVD, 12 years after its initial release.
The titular voyage, which encompasses six decades of Italian cinema, is a highly detailed and personal portrait of Scorsese’s cinematic origins. It covers some fascinating films, teaching us how ‘Marty’ became the cinematic legend he is today. Scorsese narrates, and while he is consistently interesting to listen to, it is to the documentary’s credit that the majority of screen time is made up of actual film footage from the many different pictures he discusses. Certainly one for the cineastes.
My Voyage to Italy will be very inaccessible to those unfamiliar with the Italian neorealism film movement, and because of the depth of its content it probably doesn’t mark a good entry point. It’s also particularly long – at a running time of just over 4 hours, this one is probably best enjoyed in segments. There are no extras to speak of, but seeing as the feature runs for such a long time you’ll comfortably get your money’s worth.