A quick note: Tonight, HBO will air the premiere of The 50 Year Argument. That’s Martin Scorsese’s new documentary about the influential literary and academic journal, The New York Review of Books.
Writes The New York Times: “Robert Silvers has assigned thousands of pieces for The New York Review of Books, so why not a documentary film? “The 50 Year Argument” … originated along the same lines as one of the lengthy, learned articles in The Review: Mr. Silvers sought out a talented essayist, in this case Martin Scorsese, and asked him to explore a subject — the magazine’s 50-year history — that he was passionate about but not expert in.” The result is a “textured and smart but thoroughly celebratory, a paean to the magazine and the amazingly durable Mr. Silvers, now 84.”
Regrettably, the film isn’t available online. But you can watch the trailer above and then a long Q&A about the film. Recorded in Berlin earlier this year, the Q&A features Scorsese on the stage, along with David Tedeschi (his co-director), NYRB editor Robert Silvers, publisher Rea Hederman, and contributor Michael Greenberg.
We have many other heady documentaries (where else?) on our list of 200 Free Documentaries Online.
Longform’s New, Free App Lets You Read Great Journalism from Your Favorite Publishers (including The New York Review of Books)