Fresh off the glitz of the unremarkable The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Scorsese has turned his attention away from the stockbroking world to the literary world, focusing on the history of famed literary publication The New York Review of Books in his new documentary, The 50 Year Argument (2014). Made with long-time collaborator David Tedeschi, the documentary screened as a work-in-progress at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, before officially premiering at the Sheffield Doc/Fest in June. Founded in 1963 by Robert B. Silvers (who still edits the Review at 84) and Barbara Epstein, The New York Review of Books established itself as an inventive, vigorous publication, publishing authors including Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, Saul Bellow, Susan Sontag, Margaret Atwood, Noam Chomsky and J.M. Coetzee, before founding The London Review of Books in 1979. Tom Wolfe called the Review ‘the chief theoretical organ of radical chic.’ Featured on the Cinephil website, the film:
“…weaves rarely seen archival footage of cultural icons such as Gore Vidal, Susan Sontag, and Norman Mailer; newly filmed interviews with many of the Review’s current contributors including Joan Didion, Michael Chabon, and Yasmine El Rashidi; along with original verité footage filmed in the Review’s West Village offices reflecting the humming, restless energy of a magazine that, heading into its second half-century, still feels as vital and young as its indefatigable founding editor, Robert Silvers; all told through the inimitable and energetic documentary style of Martin Scorsese.”
The documentary is said to appear on American television screens later in 2014.