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Listen to Me Marlon

  • Documentary
  • Arts
  • 2015
  • Stevan Riley
  • 98 mins
  • 15

Summary

Stevan Riley's striking documentary uses home audio recordings to provide an intimate portrait of acting great Marlon Brando.

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Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Maddening, magnificent, mercurial - all these views of Marlon Brando are encapsulated in a terrific tapestry of a great star's life. Documentary-maker Stevan Riley (Everything or Nothing: the Untold Story of 007) lucked out when he gained access to the reclusive actor's self-therapy tapes, which provide a vivid and unique flavour to the director's masterful melding of archive and clips. Eerily introduced by Brando himself, by way of a floating, digitised head, it chronicles a well-documented life: troubled upbringing by alcoholic parents; meteoric rise to fame with A Streetcar Named Desire ("I had a lot of derring-do and panache."); career ennui in the 1960s (following the Mutiny on the Bounty debacle); career revival in the 70s with The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris; and his "twilight of the gods" performance in Apocalypse Now. However, what also emerges from these confidential meditations are Brando's deep affection for Tahiti and its people, his support for civil rights (his anguish over the death of Martin Luther King is palpable) and his shortcomings as a father (the tragedy involving offspring Cheyenne and Christian bookend the film). There's Brando at his most playful and flirtatious at a 1965 junket (in footage from a classic short by the Maysles brothers), the shock at how much of his soul was bared in Last Tango, while his observations on life and acting are sharp and perceptive (on the Method: "Get people to stop chewing. The truth will do that."). Riley does a fabulous job here but it's no hagiography; this is Brando in the raw. Here, Marlon is just Marlon.

How to watch

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Streaming

Credits

Cast

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Marlon BrandoMarlon Brando

Crew

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DirectorStevan Riley

Details

Theatrical distributor
Picturehouse
Released on
2015-10-23
Language
English
Guidance
Violence, swearing
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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