I'm not sure who the target audience is for Martin Scorsese's four-hour history lesson about Italian cinema and its effect on his life and his work, but let's put that aside for a moment.
For 246 minutes and two stuffed-full DVDs, Scorsese takes the viewer who's willing on an epic journey through the movies of Italy, starting with the Neo-Realist movement that sprung from the aftermath of World War II. Snippets of Italian movies are shown, with Scorsese narrating about their historical importance and/or impact on him, personally. Sometimes he'll show various versions (old print vs. new print, American TV version vs. original version) in order to aid your understanding of the work.
It's not all Fellini, either. Scorsese discusses in depth the works of De Sica, Rossellini, Visconti, and Antonioni, too. Extended discussion of films like The Bicycle Thief can consume long stretches of ten minutes or more. It's not all Neo-Realists, either. Scorsese also dips back into the distant past -- all the way to silent films, and even cinephiles will see clips from movies they surely will have no idea ever existed. Cabiria, an epic silent movie about war in Carthage, complete with fire ships and volcanoes? Wow. If you consider yourself a film buff, you owe it to yourself to check out this work of art.
Frustratingly, the movie doesn't actually fill the TV screen. The entire four hours is sequestered inside a tiny box in the center of the display. Why? No idea, but it's annoying. It's largely in black and white, too, even the present day narration with Scorsese. It helps set the mood, but it does get old and feels affected to continually see Scorsese in front of the World Trade Center over and over, without a hint of color.
Aka Il Mio viaggio in Italia.