Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones’ stunning biography clearly defines the enormous impact Elia Kazan had on modern performance, including his participation in The Group Theatre and groundbreaking work with actors including Brando, Clift and Dean. Kazan’s naming of names at HUAC is explored. But the focus here is on the great director’s struggle to discover his personal voice as a filmmaker. Punctuated by brief but beautiful quotes from Kazan, read by Elias Koteas, Letter explores how Kazan’s films, including On the Waterfront and A Face in the Crowd, explored the moral and psychological tensions of the immigrant experience in America. The most gratifying elements, however, reveal with great delicacy and emotional force how Kazan influenced and informed Scorsese’s own films. Of Scorsese’s numerous documentaries focusing on film history, this is easily the finest. –Telluride Film Festival
Martin Scorsese was born in New York City and soon developed a passion for cinema and a particular admiration for neo-realist cinema which inspired him and influenced his view or portrayal of his Sicilian heritage. After graduating from NYU Film School in 1966 and making a number of shorts, he shot his first feature-length film Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1968) with fellow student, actor Harvey Keitel, and editor Thelma Schoonmaker both of whom were to become long-term collaborators. Mean Streets followed in 1973 and provided the benchmarks for the ‘Scorsese style’. After Scorsese directed Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, the trio was reunited for the dark journey of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. After New York, New York Scorsese released Raging Bull. The acclaimed biography of middleweight fighter Jake LaMotta was followed by exploration of fans as pariah in The King of Comedy, dark-comic dreams in After Hours and pool sharks in The Color of Money. Scorsese outraged some religious… read more
Scorsese really gets it, what it means to be a cinephile, to understand a movie for more than it's surface, take in the images and meaning and apply it to other things. His commentary here on "On the Waterfront" and "East of Eden", Kazan's best films, is both insightful and poignant.
Marty se abre de corazón y de alma y expone por completo la génesis de sus sueños cinematográficos. La clave es la figura de Elia Kazan, un hombre todo hecho de mitos y sueños que Marty supo comprender en el sentido mas profundo y sentimental del termino. Se trata de una película pequeña, modesta, pero es en su sinceridad y en su grado de emotividad donde interpela a todo el que cree que el cine es una forma de vida.
If you thought A Personal Journey... and Il Mio Viaggio were personal films, this one is even more straightforward. Besides the admirative introduction to Kazan's works, what's interesting is to see Scorsese explain how Kazan inspired him to become a filmmaker while I am sure, now days, Scorsese is usually known to be the influencer himself. In a way, he is casting his spotlight on the filmmakers he himself cares for
A Letter to Elia, a personal appreciation of Kazan that Martin Scorsese's co-written and directed with Kent Jones, has screened in Venice
As I noted at the beginning of this year, though Elia Kazan has been gone for nearly seven years now, not everyone has finished arguing about