A Letter to Elia

Director Martin Scorsese speaks candidly and passionately about one of his formative filmmaking influences: the late Elia Kazan. Utilizing precisely chosen clips from Kazan’s signature films including “On the Waterfront,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Gentleman’s Agreement,” “Baby Doll,” “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “A Face in the Crowd,” “America, America,” and “The Last Tycoon,” and interview footage of the director himself, co-directors Scorsese and Kent Jones recount the director’s tumultuous journey from the Group Theatre to the Hollywood A-list to the thicket of the blacklist. But most of all, they make a powerful case for Kazan as a profoundly personal artist working in a famously impersonal industry.


In 1962, François Truffaut conducted a week-long interview with Alfred Hitchcock, going through the master’s career film by film. The resulting book, Hitchcock/​​Truffaut, remains one of the most influential cinema publications ever written. It was a project of lasting importance for Truffaut: seventeen years after the book’s first publication in 1967 and just before his own untimely death, he went back and prepared an updated edition. This documentary deepens the legacy of the project, bringing in contemporary directors to discuss the galvanizing effects of both Truffaut’s book and Hitchcock’s films. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]