Friday, June 10, 2011

Film Yap: Pubic Speaking

Once Fran Lebowitz started talking it became so obvious why Martin Scorsese decided to do a documentary about her. They are so similar in the way they speak. They are both very New York and they talk with such a speed that you can tell so much is going on in their brilliant minds that there is no way they can slow down any further.

For those who don’t know Lebowitz is a beloved writer. She has worked for Interview under Andy Warhol and was an editor for Vanity Fair. Her essay collection Metropolitan Life was critical and financial hit. She continues to entertain the masses through public speaking events.

The documentary is a mixture of a restaurant conversation Scorsese is having with her intercut with various recorded events including an interview with Toni Morrison. Everything Lebowitz says is instantly quotable. She is so clever and articulate about a wide variety of topics. Her breakdown of the difference between wit and the humor comedians was one of the highlights.

The film is edited down to a crisp 84 minutes, but it could have gone on for hours. Lebowitz is one of the most fascinating subjects and the film just let her control it all. Setting majority of the film in a restaurant was a great idea because the causal nature of it felt like a great talk after dinner. It’s never flashy or extravagant, but neither is Lebowitz.

The extras are brief, but they are more of what is wanted. There are two short conversations with Scorsese and Lebowitz about the film, which are very funny. There is also another 11 minutes of unused footage. Most of it is just more observations from Lebowitz, but I really loved the footage of Scorsese trying to set up the booth for the shoot.

Film: 4.5 Yaps

Extras: 4 Yaps

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