Have you seen all of Martin Scorsese‘s 85 essential films? Good. Now it’s time to step away from America and explore the world. Floating around for some time, but recently catching our attention is his list of 39 recommended foreign films. We can thank Colin Levy, who now works for Pixar, but had the chance to speak to the filmmaker when he was younger to help expand his knowledge of the film medium.

After their 2006 meeting in which Levy posed the question, Scorsese’s assistant passed along the below note, which features classics from Akira Kurosawa, Fritz Lang, Jean-Luc Godard, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and more. For those that want to dive into more of the director’s influences, we also have a 30-minute BBC special from 2003 in which Scorsese speaks about his upbringing and fascination with history.

Discussing growing up in Little Italy, he connects it with his then-new feature Gangs of New York, as well as talks about how the French New Wave, Sergei Eisenstein, and more shaped his career. Check out the list (via Cinephilia & Beyond) and the documentary below (via Refocused Media) as the filmmaker gears up to shoot Silence this fall.


How many of his favorite foreign films have you seen? What do you think of the documentary?

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