Italianamerican (1974)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

USA, 1974. . Screenplay by , . Cinematography by . Produced by , . Film Editing by .

In one of his most personal and endearing works, filmmaker Martin Scorsese interviews his parents for just under an hour, asking them to relate their experiences growing up as the children of Italian immigrants in New York City. His mother makes her signature sauce in the kitchen, describing its ingredients that were passed down to her from her mother-in-law before relating stories of past family members and memorable characters in their neighbourhood. His father joins in recounting their memories of his childhood, the various jobs he had and the people he remembers. The emphasis here is on connection, traditions and memories that are passed down through the generations to be preserved in a cultural consciousness (and in the case of this film, preserved forever on film). Martin rightfully finds his parents charismatic enough to be the stars of the show, particularly his chatty and engaging mother, whose recollections uttered in that fantastic accent of hers run the gamut from deeply funny to delicately touching (her last story the best of them).

The Criterion Collection:  #1030

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