Landing for the first time at John F. Kennedy International Airport, reaching the center of New York City and plunging into its unique urban jungle can be a tremendously hostile experience for the first time visitor.
Traffic is dangerous and as chaotic as public transport, walking at a relaxed pace is nothing short of a risky activity in which you risk being scolded by one of the millions of accelerated pedestrians with too many problems in their heads to obstruct their way, the prices are exorbitant, the friends of others are the order of the day …
Faced with such a scenario, where many experience a visceral and practically instantaneous rejection, others feel how the city embraces us with a strange warmth and integrates us into its anarchic logicHow it makes us feel “one more” while it marvels us with its infinite charms – which go far beyond skyscrapers, bridges and light shows – and makes us smile with complicity in front of its equally multiple and inordinate defects.
Only two lovers and deep connoisseurs of the city that never sleeps like Martin Scorsese and Fran Lebowitz could be able to capture this dichotomy the way they have in the wonderful ‘Suppose New York is a city’; a documentary miniseries consisting of seven episodes, which is brighter and more fun, which brings the duo together after the great ‘Public Speaking’ of HBO to turn the capital of the world upside down.
New York under the magnifying glass of two geniuses
It is extraordinary to see how Fran Lebowitz’s high-pitched and highly intelligent verbiage ‘Suppose New York is a City’ transforms what could well be – bridging the obvious distances as far as format is concerned – the stand up more lucid and round than he has stepped on Netflix in an outstanding New York X-ray both in its dissemination will and in its ability to entertain.
Complementing the overflowing genius of the writer, Scorsese acts as the master of ceremonies, impregnating the footage with his inimitable personal stamp. This includes a rhythmic and precise montage that combines archive with current material photographed by a particularly inspired Ellen Kuras, a musical selection in which to get lost for hours, and spectacular management of the off that is twinned with his fiction works.
Combining your immeasurable talents, Marty and Fran embrace the trivial and the transcendental; from the New York culture of the seventies and tax management to how difficult it is to find a flat when you have 10,000 books in your personal library, to the horrors hidden by the subway and anecdotes of Lebowitz with personalities of the stature of Charles Mingus that provide a biographical extra to the production. An immense thematic variety that helps you devour it without blinking.
‘Suppose New York is a city’ is Netflix’s first big premiere in 2021. A fascinating journey through a unique location in the world that, unlike the metropolis in which it is centered, leaves no room for love or hate; there is only room for the greatest of obeisances.