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]

My Voyage to Italy

“I saw these movies. They had a powerful effect on me. You should see them.” That’s Martin Scorsese’s message for this documentary. We meet his family on Elizabeth Street in New York; he’s a third generation Italian with Sicilian roots. Starting in 1949, they watched movies on TV as well as in theaters, lots of Italian imports. Scorsese, with his narration giving a personal as well as a public context, shows extended clips of these movies. Films of Rossellini and De Sica fill part one; those of Visconti, Fellini, and Antonioni comprise part two. Scorsese takes time with emotion, style, staging, technique, political context, and cinematic influence. It’s his movie family.

Jimmy P.

Adapted from the 1951 non-fiction account by psychoanalyst Georges Devereux, “Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian,” the film follows the true story of Picard (Del Toro), a Plains Indian of the Blackfeet nation, as he returns from WWII and begins experiencing unexplainable symptoms shortly thereafter. He travels to the famous Winter Hospital in Topeka, Kansas, where he meets Devereux (Amalric), thus beginning a professional and personal friendship guided by compassion and understanding of Native American culture.