H ere’s a double review for you guys. One film from Martin Scorsese ‘A LETTER TO ELIA’ and another on the 19 years John Lennon lived in New York City: ‘LENNON NYC.’ Enjoy!
Letter to Elia:
‘A Letter To Elia’ is the latest documentary from director Martin Scorsese, following ‘Shine A Light,’ ‘No Direction Home,’ and ‘Public Speaking’ to name a few. Now we all know the classic and important films to have come from Scorsese – so there’s no point reiterating them here – but with ‘A Letter To Elia; we get to see his greatest influences: the films of director Elia Kazan.
The film is structured around Scorsese’s own ‘to camera’ address and subsequent Narration -the titular letter – and we not only see clips of the classic Kazan films like ‘On The Waterfront,’ ‘America America,’ and ‘East Of Eden,’ but we experience them how Martin Scorsese does. As much as the film educates us on Kazan’s films – it educates us on his life, and how that has affected Scorsese’s. He has made a wonderful little love letter to cinema, and for those lovers of the art, and of Scorsese himself; it will be a powerful and surprisingly emotional watch.
8 out of 10.
There have been hundreds of fictional and non-fictional films on the life of John Lennon. I’m a massive Beatles fanatic, so naturally I’ve seen a crap-load of these movies – most of them not very good. Once you’ve seen the ‘Beatles: Anthology’ series not much else compares. That series was one of the rare ones in which Yoko Ono (Lennon’s widow – In case you live in a cave) gave approval and thus access.
Like during the Anthology series, Yoko Ono gave filmmaker Michael Epstein access to the Lennon archives that she owns – now this a huge deal, as Ono never lets the stuff out – and there are unrecorded tapes and concert/camera footage that I never could have imagined existed. The film isn’t about Lennon’s entire life, nor is it about ‘The Beatles;’ it focuses on the 19 something years that John Lennon lived in New York City, and what sets it apart from the other doco’s is that Ono gives extensive interviews. And she doesn’t shy away from discussing the difficult aspects of the period.
And neither does anyone else. The doco is unbiased, it shows Lennon at his very worst; the cheating, the drug abuse, the violence. The stories are raw – this isn’t your ‘John Lennon is God’ typical crap. Yes, It shows the best and the worst, and it shows the unseen – but the greatest thing is that it just tells it how it was, no sugar coating, no bullshit. I don’t want to go as far as saying it’s the definitive Lennon Documentary (I don’t think that could ever exist) but it’s close. Beatles fanatics will have already heard the majority of what’s seen – but it’s that 10 percent unseen stuff that elevate ‘Lennon NYC.’
Only because I’m a Beatles nerd: 10 out of 10.