“This survey of Italian cinema by Martin Scorsese is a worthwhile follow-up to his 1995 documentary A Personal Journey Through American Movies. Packed with insight and film clips, Voyage covers Italian cinema from World War II through the early '60s, the time that the young Scorsese watched these films before starting his career. The heart of the documentary is the Neo-Realism movement – not the lightest of genres, but Scorsese's passion helps considerably. He introduces us to his family and Sicilian ancestors via photos and home movies allowing us to understand how powerfully these films affected him and his family. He talks about how he saw the films, often through inferior prints on television, and calls out details to observe. The filmmaker spends upwards of 15 minutes on a single film, with the bulk of the history centering on five powerhouse directors: Roberto Rossellini (“Open City”), Vittorio De Sica (“The Bicycle Thief”), Luchino Visconti (“Senso”), Federico Fellini (“8-1/2”), and Michelangelo Antonioni(“L'Avventura”).
Scorsese's four-hour-plus survey should come with a college credit for film history. He examines the major films but also spends time on films that may be hard to find on home video (at least at this time): Rossellini's six-part “Paisan”, a heart-breaking look at the last days of the war; De Sica's episodic “The Gold of Naples”; Fellini's atypical “I Vitelloni”, which was a major influence on Scorsese's own “Mean Streets”; Antonioni's “Eclipse” with its radical ending; and Rossellini's “Voyage to Italy”, an examination of a marriage that failed worldwide as a film but was a touchstone for the French New Wave movement. The final results are not as accessible as “Personal Journey” but, at worst, a viewer will have working knowledge of more than 20 Italian films (and be able to cheat their way through a discussion). At best, these are four hours that will end too soon and leave you hungry to view these films that have fueled Scorsese's cinematic vision.”