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Public Speaking (2011)

Fran Lebowitz , William F. Buckley , Martin Scorsese  |  PG |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Fran Lebowitz, William F. Buckley, Truman Capote, Pablo Casals, Candy Darling
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Fran Lebowitz, Chris Garrett, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Erin Edeiken, Graydon Carter
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2011
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004MQ6W7S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,426 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Public Speaking" on IMDb

Special Features

-Short conversation with Fran Lebowitz
-Short conversation with Martin Scorsese
-Bonus clips

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

For Martin Scorsese to have directed this loving biopic about author Fran Lebowitz's life, one assumes that not only must she have enormous talent, but that she, as a character, can also entertain viewers enough to warrant the making of a feature-length documentary. Indeed, as Lebowitz says in one interview among the many here, she is first and foremost a public speaker, a woman who takes talking to a high art form after she dreamed, as a child, that people would care about her opinions. Public Speaking chronicles a truly iconoclastic author and thinker whose satirically barbed wit is hilarious and controversial on the page, as well as onscreen. In her interviews she pontificates most vocally about her experiences as a New Yorker, as a writer, journalist, feminist, smoker (yes, she actually takes the protection of cigarette smoking rights up as a cause), and gay rights activist. What it adds up to, in her words, is a devotion to maintaining individual freedom. Most poignant, however, are the scenes in which she places herself historically within a New York cultural framework, as she remembers first writing for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine, then publishing her first hit novel, Metropolitan Life. Of course, while tracking any influential author's career is important, Scorsese does a wonderful job of taking a wider cultural stance, occasionally editing in footage of James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, and other radical authors to trace an American history of literary satire's ties to political causes. Lebowitz, who has been called a modern-day Dorothy Parker, astutely expresses brilliant, miniature rants on topics ranging from how wit could be connected to religious and cultural roots, to the equal importance of smart cultural audiences and artists. Lebowitz's overt manner and confidence is at first jarring, but as one settles in to listen to the many interesting points she makes, one realizes that her bold tone underpins her undying interest in watching urban culture mutate. If at first one is taken aback by what could be construed as Lebowitz's giant ego, one is likely to be swayed in her favor, coming to terms with the fact that, as she says to her friend Toni Morrison in one interview, that she's "almost always right." --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

Directed by Oscar winner Martin Scorsese and produced by Emmy and Peabody winning documentary producer and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, along with Margaret Bodde, Public Speaking captures the essence of legendary New York bestselling writer Fran Lebowitz, who is perhaps most known for her unique take on modern life.

The film weaves together monologues, as well as footage from several of Lebowitz's speaking engagements, along with archival footage of Lebowitz from the 1970s to today which, showcases not only Lebowitz's unconventional worldview and experiences, but also shines a spotlight on her trademark

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(20)
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scorsese on Lebowitz: My Dinner With Fran-dre January 3, 2011
A quintessential New York personality, I really hadn't heard much about humorist Fran Lebowitz in recent years. So when Martin Scorsese's documentary "Public Speaking" popped up, I thought it would be interesting to see how the feisty Lebowitz was still getting along. Let's just say that she's as pleased with herself as ever--and I certainly don't mean that in a negative way. Lebowitz, in a series of articles, essays and collections turned into books, was anointed one of the premiere social satirists of her day. A 1970's Dorothy Parker with scathing observational humor about the era in which she found fame, Lebowitz has been largely absent from the publishing scene for many years. Her most famous books were released in 1978 ("Metropolitan Life") and 1981 ("Social Studies). There was finally another collection in 1994, "The Fran Lebowitz Reader," which was still funny but was starting to show its age with quaintly out of sync cultural references.

Lebowitz, however, as a personality is always larger than life. "Public Speaking" is framed, for the most part, as sitting down in a restaurant across from Lebowitz to enjoy her bon mots. And Scorsese and team genuinely love her--they practically die laughing! There are some personal appearance clips and stock footage (always enjoy the Conan O'Brien bit when she was promoting her children's book), but mostly it's just a modern Lebowitz dissecting herself. Known for her bitter truths and honesty, Lebowitz can be a divisive personality. I, for one, think she still has plenty of relevant opinions to contribute to a modern discourse on the state of the world.

I think the recommendation of "Public Speaking" is a no-brainer for any fan of Lebowitz and those aware of her notoriety many years ago.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lebowitz kills November 23, 2010
By lenny
Just saw "Public Speaking," Scorcese's documentary of Fran Lebowitz speaking to the film maker and friends across a table with well-chosen illustrative historical and cultural clips inserted while Fran speaks. Delightfully intelligent banter and cultural critiques of numerous subjects by Lebowitz with a running stream of humor but, underneath it all, really incisive insights that cut against standard viewpoints and wake the viewer up to what real thoughtfulness can yield. Stands in stark contrast to current media programs (news, commentary, late night comedy, etc.) and the deadening effect of the current "Lite" American media culture of easy commentary and half-formed ideas.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I saw this incredible documentary on HBO and I can't wait to buy DVDs of it to share with my friends. I loved Lebowitz's essays, and have to say that this documentary (which combines a biography of the author with her acidic and hilarious commentary on just about everything in contemporary life) is pitch-perfect.

Lebowitz isn't just hilarious, though; she is also deeply intelligent and her observations on everything from the "cleaning up" of NYC to gay rights and feminism to the state of "entertainment news" are razor-sharp. "Here's what news used to be," she says at one point. "Information."

But her take on her own childhood ("Climbing a tree makes sense to me only if behind you there are Nazis), her early life as a writer, and her friends are exquisitely, killingly funny. I cannot think of the last time I heard anything as funny as her description of herself at the Nobel Prize banquet, which she attended as a guest of Toni Morrison. I was literally in tears, I was laughing so hard.

Please, Powers that Be, RELEASE THE DVD!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scorsese on Lebowitz: My Dinner With Fran-dre February 25, 2011
Format:DVD
A quintessential New York personality, I really hadn't heard much about humorist Fran Lebowitz in recent years. So when Martin Scorsese's documentary "Public Speaking" popped up, I thought it would be interesting to see how the feisty Lebowitz was still getting along. Let's just say that she's as pleased with herself as ever and I certainly don't mean that in a negative way. Lebowitz, in a series of articles, essays and collections turned into books, was anointed one of the premiere social satirists of her day. A 1970's Dorothy Parker with scathing observational humor about the era in which she found fame, Lebowitz has been largely absent from the publishing scene for many years. Her most famous books were released in 1978 ("Metropolitan Life") and 1981 ("Social Studies). There was finally another collection in 1994, "The Fran Lebowitz Reader," which was still funny but was starting to show its age with quaintly out of sync cultural references.

Lebowitz, however, as a personality is always larger than life. "Public Speaking" is framed, for the most part, as sitting down in a restaurant across from Lebowitz to enjoy her bon mots. And Scorsese and team genuinely love her, they practically die laughing! There are some personal appearance clips and stock footage (always enjoy the Conan O'Brien bit when she was promoting her children's book), but mostly it's just a modern Lebowitz dissecting herself. Known for her bitter truths and honesty, Lebowitz can be a divisive personality. I, for one, think she still has plenty of relevant opinions to contribute to a modern discourse on the state of the world.

I think the recommendation of "Public Speaking" is a no-brainer for any fan of Lebowitz and those aware of her notoriety many years ago.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is still On Demand on HBO?!
I'm not complaining. I love this documentary. I just love how only opinion matters and that she states her opinions as facts. There's non of this "I feel.... Read more
Published 1 month ago by nunya
5.0 out of 5 stars Spoken With Joyful Mirth
When is she releasing her next DVD? I am begging her on bended knee to have her make me laugh hysterically once again. She is the Mark Twain of this Century. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jack M Futerman
5.0 out of 5 stars Yay Frannie!
She'd probably hate being called that but this is such an uplifting vid for those of who struggle to create, highly recommended!
Published 3 months ago by Paki S. Wright
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really a course in public speaking.
This is not a self help video on public speaking but mostly a yakity yaks of
fran lebowitz being interviewed giving her personal opinions on a lot of
topics from politics... Read more
Published 8 months ago by sexy dancer
5.0 out of 5 stars Knocked out.
I love this picture. If you can relate to an honest, not always pretty picture. You can enjoy and laugh along, because Fran has
the wonderful ability to laugh at herself. Read more
Published 8 months ago by mayzey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great conversation, Scorsese, or both!
I watched this great interview of Fran Lebowitz when it originally aired on HBO. Ever since then, I had been impatiently awaiting its arrival on DVD. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Nomnom
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gal is GREAT
Liebowitz is funny and wise, what more can
you want. This film is quintessential New York,
core Manhattan. Five stars.
Published 9 months ago by Marie L. Southwick
5.0 out of 5 stars Fran at Her Best
If you like Fran Lebowicz you are going to like this documentary. The fact the it was directed by Martin Scorsese doesn't hurt either. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mary L. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it so much that I have been ordering more for gifts
Clever, witty and fun. Scorsese does a great job of presenting Fran Lebowitz's unique view on the world. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Richard M. Sola
5.0 out of 5 stars AS GOOD AS IT GETS
This is a highly entertaining documentary that does great credit to its two protagonists. No doubt it has to be Fran Liebowitz who takes the prize, but that is in no small measure... Read more
Published on April 4, 2012 by H. L. Mason
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