Pretend It’s a City is a limited documentary series directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Fran Lebowitz who talks about a subject they both love – New York.
I am all for shows that are witty, funny and hide love behind disdain and Pretend It’s a City is exactly that. The limited series, directed by Martin Scorsese, is charming and hilarious and there are times that Fran Lebowitz talks about deep and meaningful stuff under the guise of humour.
Pretend It’s a City is mostly an ode to Scorsese and Lebowitz’s love for New York, a city Lebowitz can’t get enough of, but a city that annoys her to no end. The series has a wide range of things to watch while Lebowitz talks about her various observations and fascinations regarding her life in New York and in general.
It takes place between different Q&A events and sitdowns at the Players Club and the shots shift from one to the other smoothly, without breaking pace. It is charming to watch and adds to the novelty factor. We also see Lebowitz walk around in New York in her favourite spots as we catch a glimpse of the different things that catch her fancy.
Lebowitz’s wit and humour are absolutely astonishing and will leave you in splits most of the time. She is not really a stand-up and likes living a less modern life (who doesn’t have cell phones at this time?!) but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the series is packed with entertainment, thanks to her. Scorsese also nudges her along with some questions and comments, but it’s mostly her raving and raging about the things and people around her. It’s also quite relatable sometimes, especially her dislike for people on the streets. If you’ve lived in a big city and avail public transport, you’d probably understand what I’m talking about here.
Apart from Lebowitz’s wit, the documentary is beautifully shot and is intertwined with different interview clips and clips from various movies, concerts and videos. Lebowitz focuses on a variety of topics that keep the documentary interesting and although we don’t get a deep and intimate look into her life per se, it still gives us a glimpse into her thoughts. Additionally, it’s entertaining as all hell. The show is an exploration of a New York that Lebowitz wishes were still around and the vivid stories that she depicts will give you a clear idea of the place being discussed if, like me, you’ve never been there.
Summing up: Pretend It’s a City
With 7 episodes, each half-an-hour long, Pretend It’s a City is an entertainer that catches your fancy very early on. It’s funny and witty and never gets too muddled up its own stories. Fran Lebowitz’s demeanour and way of speaking is a perfect recipe for keeping everything fresh and extremely funny and her general disdain for the people around her is relatable and hilarious.
Pretend It’s a City is streaming on Netflix.
Liked the Pretend It’s a City review? Read our other reviews here.