Monday, December 9
(1974) “The best film I ever made; it really freed me in style.” – the director conducts a freewheeling interview with his parents, the late Catherine and Charles (né Luciano) Scorsese, in their walk-up on Elizabeth Street (now the trendiest block in “NoLita,” then the “mean streets” of his early films), reflecting on 40 years of marriage, everything from courtship to whose mother was the better cook. The impressible Mrs. Scorsese (who later got a SAG card after popping up frequently in her son’s films – most memorably as Joe Pesci’s mother in Goodfellas) shows off snapshots from a recent trip to Italy (mostly of family dinners), argues with her husband about home wine-making techniques, and interrupts her son repeatedly to nurse her later-anthologized spaghetti sauce, revealed at breakneck speed in the end credits. Scorsese purposely left the hyphen out of the title, explaining that his parents “are neither Italian nor American. They are one.” DCP. Approx. 43 min. Plus The Neighborhood (2001) made in the wake of 9/11 as part of The Concert for New York City. Digital. Approx. 7 min.
“Made just after Mean Streets, Italianamerican proves just as instructive about life in Little Italy as Johnny Boy’s saga.”
– Chris Peachment, Time Out (London)
“'Italianamerican finds the director doing perhaps the bravest thing he has ever done: sitting down with his parents on the plastic slipcovers of their living-room sofa, and simply letting them talk.”
– Janet Maslin, The New York Times