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Written and directed by Scorsese and his long-time collaborator Kent Jones, is a deeply personal film, a frank portrait and self-portrait, and an equally frank acknowledgement of the closeness and the distance between artists and their art.

For Martin Scorsese, growing up in Little Italy, seeing “On the Waterfront” and “East of Eden” as a young man was a life-changing experience. Scorsese appears on and off camera throughout “A Letter to Elia”, taking us through Kazan’s life and through his own as well, and through his growing realization that there was an artist behind the camera, someone “who knew me, maybe better than I knew myself”. The film is about being exposed to the right movies at the right moment in your adolescent life, when you’re wide open and ready to connect, to be spurred on by the work up there on the screen, and then, maybe, to chart a course toward making your own movies.

Composed of clips, stills, readings from Kazan’s autobiography and his speech on directing (read by Elias Koteas), a videotaped interview done late in Kazan’s life, and Scorsese’s commentary on and off screen, “A Letter to Elia” takes a close look at the life of art and its creation – the work, the distractions, the inspirations, the complications, the intersections between art and experience.

“A Letter to Elia”, written and directed by Scorsese and his long-time collaborator Kent Jones, is a deeply personal film, a frank portrait and self-portrait, and an equally frank acknowledgement of the closeness and the distance between artists and their art.

Filmmakers’ Statement:
This film was made over the course of a few years, resulting from many screenings of Kazan’s films and readings of his books and interviews, and from an on-going discussion of, among other things, exactly how to talk about artistic influence. We wanted to do justice to Kazan as a person, as a historical figure, most of all as an artist: but we also wanted to do justice to the power of the films themselves, which have a life of their own. To put it simply, A Letter to Elia is a labor of love. – Martin Scorsese & Kent Jones
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Film Credits

Directors: Martin Scorsese, Kent Jones

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Length: 60 min

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Letter to Elia Screening:

  • Sat28May

    at Curzon Soho

    28 May 2011 6:15 pm

    There is also a Panel Discussion
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