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"My Voyage To Italy"

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Scorsese highlights the giants — Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni — but rather than looking at them as such, he opts for close-ups, honing in on particularly innovative techniques and even breaking down individual scenes to show imagery and acting.

The technique is engrossing, offering analysis only an astute critic like Scorsese could conjure, along with telling details and personal back stories only he could know. Still, "Voyage" is not the kind of thing you go through in one sitting, unless you have a very large thermos of coffee beside you and a paper on neorealism to write. Clocking in at over 4 hours, it's a good film to pick up and put down when the mood strikes.

Just as well, because the voyage offered is less a structured course than a leisurely tour of Scorsese's favorite films and directors. Not only is it an excellent introduction to an important period in film, but it's also an insight into the man inspired by the era. Scorsese is still in the process of convincing us he is a great film director, but there's no question that he is a superlative film historian. -Wayne Melton

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