Martin Scorsese interviews his parents, children of Italian immigrants in their apartment in Manhattan's Little Italy for this engaging short documentary. Fans of Scorsese's films will certainly recognize them, as they regularly played small parts in his films (Catherine Scorsese most
memorably as Joe Pesci's mother in 1989's GOODFELLAS). Along with its companion AMERICAN BOY (1978), ITALIANAMERICAN offers a look into the background of the director whose work contains large elements of autobiography. But even if you don't know or care about their famous son, you'll be charmed
by Mr. and Mrs. Scorsese.
The interview opens with Catherine and Charles sitting together on their plastic-covered sofa, bickering playfully and showing photos from their recent honeymoon to Italy. (They missed their first opportunity 39 years earlier because she was afraid to take the train.) Catherine goes off to the
kitchen to demonstrate for the camera how to make her sauce, a recipe extrapolated from those of her mother and mother-in-law. She emphasizes the importance of meatballs, which should be soft, "unlike places where you go and you could throw the meatball at the wall, it would make a hole in the
wall." Charles recounts life in the Italian community of lower Manhattan in the early 1900s, and the traditions that changed between his and his parents' generations. Catherine also recalls her parents, and the stories she heard of their courtship in Italy. As they eat the dinner she has prepared,
Catherine talks about her father, who was unable to speak English when he applied for citizenship, even though he had been in America for 30 years by that time.
Like AMERICAN BOY, ITALIANAMERICAN is enjoyable not so much for what is said but for the way in which it is said. Scorsese's love of garrulous characters would seem to come from his mother, who does the lion's share of the talking. And for viewers who are made hungry by watching her cook, her
sauce recipe is included in the end credits.
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- Released: 1974
- Rating: NR
- Review: Martin Scorsese interviews his parents, children of Italian immigrants in their apartment in Manhattan's Little Italy for this engaging short documentary. Fans of Scorsese's films will certainly recognize them, as they regularly played small parts in his f… (more)