Film Love presents

Martin Scorsese: Portrait Films

Two intimate, rarely screened films by the legendary director

Friday, February 26, 2010
8:00 PM at Eyedrum

Martin Scorsese (right) and Steven Prince (second from left) filming American Boy (1978)

“[Italianamerican] is, I think, the best film I ever made. It really freed me in style...I saw it as the story of these two people. I had seen them as parents, not as people. Then suddenly they became people, and it was a love story.” –Martin Scorsese on his film Italianamerican

“the bravest thing Scorsese has ever done” – The New York Times

FOUR STARS: “...showcase[s] the director’s greatest loves: family, friendship and film. Not necessarily in that order.” – Creative Loafing

To filmgoers the world over, the name “Martin Scorsese” is synonymous with moviemaking, not only through iconic films such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull but also his well-known advocacy for film preservation and his passionate dedication to all eras and genres of film history – including the experimental and avant-garde.

To coincide with the release of Shutter Island – his first feature since winning the Academy Award for Directing for The Departed – Film Love presents two of Scorsese’s intimate short films. Made in the 1970s as “breathers” in between his ambitious Hollywood films, they represent some of the director’s loosest, most free-wheeling work, and deserve wider recognition.

Italianamerican (1974) lovingly profiles Scorsese’s parents, Charles and Catherine (whose acting appearances in their son’s films have delighted fans for decades). In addition to showing priceless moments of interaction between husband, wife, and son, the film doubles as a moving (and typically cinematic) portrait of a long marriage, and by extension the immigrant experience in mid twentieth-century America.

American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince (1978) is an alternately charming and intense film about Scorsese’s friend and roommate (most famous for his cameo as a gun salesman in Taxi Driver). An almost archetypal member of the ‘60s generation, Prince is an effortless raconteur, recounting a series of riveting and increasingly hysterical anecdotes about his Jewish upbringing in the ‘50s, experiences as road manager for Neil Diamond, heroin addiction, and sober brushes with violence and death (some of which found their way almost verbatim into movies by other directors, most notably Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction).

Common to both films are nods to the meta-cinematic innovations of the French New Wave and the Cinema Vérité movement – such as shots of Scorsese directing and discussing the films as they’re being made, and the insertion of home movies and other archival footage – that remind us of how important the act of making movies is in the director’s own life, and make these films, in part, a celebration of moviemaking itself.

Called “the bravest thing Scorsese has ever done” by The New York Times, these films remain unavailable on video in the United States. Film Love is proud to present a one-night-only screening of these too-rarely-seen works.


Italianamerican (1974, 48 minutes) (screened on DVD)
American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince (1978, 55 minutes) (screened on DVD)

How to make pasta sauce: Catherine Scorsese in Italianamerican (1974)

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