The BFI have put Martin Scorsese’s 1995 documentary about American cinema online.
Titled A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies it was produced by the British Film Institute and originally aired in three parts on Channel 4 back in 1995.
Co-directed with Michael Henry Wilson, it explores Scorsese’s favourite American films grouped according to three different types of directors:
- Illusionist: Pioneers such as D.W. Griffith or F. W. Murnau, who helped create new editing techniques among other innovations that created the basic blueprint for film grammar and which laid the groundwork for the later appearance of sound and colour.
- Smuggler: Filmmakers such as Douglas Sirk, Samuel Fuller, and Vincente Minnelli, who used to hide subversive messages in their films and
- Iconoclast: Directors who attacked social convention such as Charles Chaplin, Erich von Stroheim, Orson Welles, Elia Kazan, Nicholas Ray, Stanley Kubrick, Arthur Penn, and Sam Peckinpah.
With contributions from the likes of Billy Wilder and Clint Eastwood it is essential viewing.
You can watch it in full here:
His documentaries about cinema are like the best film school you never went to, featuring invaluable insights from a master director and a passionate movie fan.
The best compliment I can pay them is that you should just see them as soon as you possibly can.