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Italianamerican (1974)

Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily. These are two people who have lived together for a long time and ... See full summary »

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Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily. These are two people who have lived together for a long time and know each other very well. They have retained individual identities and differing opinions, yet have found a way to live with each other, and both are fascinating story-tellers. Written by alfiehitchie

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October 1974 (USA)  »

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Italoamericani  »

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The Sauce: Singe an onion & a pinch of garlic in oil. Throw in a piece of veal, a piece of beef, some pork sausage & a lamb neck bone. Add a basil leaf. When the meat is brown, take it out, & put it on a plate. Put in a can of tomato paste & some water. Pass a can of packed whole tomatoes through a blender & pour it in. Let it boil. Add salt, pepper, & a pinch of sugar. Let it cook for awhile. Throw the meat back in. Cook for 1 hour. Now make the meatballs. Put a slice of bread without crust, 2 eggs, & a drop of milk, into a bowl of ground veal & beef. Add salt, pepper, some cheese & a few spoons of sauce. Mix it with your hands. Roll them up, throw them in. Let it cook for another hour. See more »

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Featured in Martin Scorsese: True Confessions (2017) See more »

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Family
10 December 2009 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

The beginning of Martin Scorsese's career had much to do with his urge to portray the Italian-American Roman Catholic experience. Who's That Knocking at My Door and Mean Streets, for instance, are not just films about low-level hoods getting into trouble but on a more profound level dealing with the virtually reflexive affectations born out of their culture, heritage and masculinity complexes. One can see these movies over and over again and discover an undertone never before realized, because is not just Scorsese's interest in the subject but his lifelong saturation in it that gave them such endless dimensions and jittery spirit. Italianamerican, shot after returning from Hollywood to rediscover his ethnic roots, whether or not this home movie of sorts has the same vibrancy or histrionics as the director's features, is the last necessary word on the subject. Any vagueness in imagining the look and feel of the Italian-American middle-class Roman Catholic existence will be enriched by this 50-minute homemade doc.

The Scorseses talk about their experiences as Italian immigrants in New York among other things, while having dinner at their flat on Elizabeth Street. It is purely incidental that Scorsese's father Charles is quiet much of the time, guarded, slowly growing comfortable with the camera, while mother Catherine is with no trouble at all completely her zestful self. Just as if the director had taken us along while visiting his parents, they discuss, with little apparent preparation, the family's origins, their ancestors, life in post-war Italy and the burdens of poor Sicilian immigrants in America struggling to acquire livelihood and earn enough to support their families. She also instructs how to cook her meatballs. If you misunderstand her instruction at all, don't worry; the recipe's in the credits.

Italianamerican is very, well, easy, but it's one of the most endearing things a director has ever done. He shares his parents with us, his old home, the stories that brought him here. The quirks of his parents remind us of those of our own parents. It is pleasant just simply to watch two people who are never afraid to pick a fight with each other, have their many clashing opinions and have learned to let it all slide, to live with each other in peace. Their hostility is not hostility to them; it's just how they talk to each other.


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