The tremendously busy Martin Scorsese has his third picture set to debut this year. Third? Yes. It seems like ancient history, but “Shutter Island” hit theaters in February, the director recently unspooled his ode to Elia Kazan, the appropriately titled, “A Letter To Elia,” and now, he’s set to unveil his documentary on Fran Lebowitz, “Public Speaking.”
Lebowitz, a writer and acidic social commentator, has often been referred to as a contemporary Dorothy Parker and while her influence has waned (she’s probably most recognized for her work during the ’70s and early ’80s) she’s a New York icon and definitely great material for a documentary. As the trailer shows, she’s got a bristling, quickfire wit and this should be a very entertaining watch.
The film will debut on HBO on November 22 at 10 PM and will be airing on select dates on the network after the premiere. You can check out the synopsis and trailer after the jump.
“I have way too frequently for my own moral comfort been asked if I was an only child.” – Fran Lebowitz
Wise, brilliant and funny, Fran Lebowitz hit the New York literary scene in the early ‘70s when Andy Warhol hired the unknown scribe to write a column for Interview magazine. Today, she’s an acclaimed author with legions of fans who adore her acerbic wit.
Directed in the inimitable and energetic style of Scorsese’s early documentaries “Italian American” and “American Boy,” PUBLIC SPEAKING captures the author in conversation at New York’s Waverly Inn, in an onstage discussion with longtime friend and celebrated writer Toni Morrison and on the streets of New York City.
Lebowitz offers insights on timely issues such as gender, race and gay rights, as well as her pet peeves, including celebrity culture, smoking bans, tourists and strollers. Gender, she says, is “a very big piece of luck,” adding, ”Any white gentile straight male who is not President of the United States failed.” Reflecting on the election of Barack Obama, she calls racism a “fantasy of superiority,” adding, “a fantasy can end, you know. It probably won’t, but it can.” On the subject of aging, Lebowitz says, “At a certain point, the worst picture taken of you when you were 25 is better than the best picture taken of you when you’re 45.” Of her beloved city, she says, “New York was not better [in the ‘70s] because there was more crime. It was better because it was cheaper.”
Despite a legendary, decades-long bout of writer’s block, which she calls a “writer’s blockade,” Lebowitz’s eclectic career has included stints writing for Interview and Mademoiselle magazines and serving as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair. She is also the author of two bestselling collections of essays, “Metropolitan Life” (1978) and “Social Studies” (1981), and the children’s book “Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas” (1994).