Martin Scorsese’s four-hour expedition through Italian Cinema 101 is well-motivated, with the director and renowned cinephile aiming to redress the Hollywood hegemony that threatens to render all other national cinemas secondary. Unfortunately, the resulting documentary manages to be both overly restrictive and tediously excessive in different ways. By sticking to works by a canonical quintet of Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni, Scorsese’s archival intellect is circumscribed at the expense of other, unsung filmmakers: you’ll discover a new title or ten, but only from the usual sources. The second flaw in the format is more damaging: if you’re familiar with any of the films in question, the commentary is too sparse and light to add much to your appreciation; if you haven’t, Scorsese’s tendency to synopsise entire plots will frustrate. By being neither an illuminating educational lecture nor a piece of entertainment in its own right, Marty’s passion is rendered a chore.
Out 26th September