Listen to Me Marlon: Brando in his Own Words

Stevan Riley’s highly focused documentary, Listen To Me Marlon, offers a ultra-candid portrait of Marlon Brando, the legendary screen icon and incredibly mysterious and complex man.

The docu’s novelty is that the insights, revelations, and secrets are heard by Brando’s own voice from the treasure troves of his collection.

After premiering to critical acclaim at this year’s Sundance Film Fest and at the New Directors/New Films, the Showtime feature will bow in theaters in late July before premiering on Showtime TV later this year.

Unbeknownst to the public, Brando, who always maintained some distance from the press and the public, created a vast archive of personal audio and visual materials over the course of his lifetime (he died in 2004, at age 80).

Surprisingly, these materials are often deeply personal–even confessional–and lacking ego and vanity, as could be expected from such a brilliant if troubled man.  Ultra-bold in observations, there is no discretion or evasion.

Now, a decade after his death, for the first time ever, those recordings come to public life in Riley’s impressively informative film. Charting Brando’s exceptional career as an actor and his extraordinary life away from the stage and screen, the film reveals the complexities and contradictions that had defined Marlon Brando’s existence by telling the richly dense story in his own words.

End result is a compassionate, often brilliant portrait of man that comes across as more human (and humane) and compelling than ever given credit for.  As expected, through the rich archival footage, director Riley pays deserving tribute to Brando’s genius, his Method acting.

Technically, the feature represents a vigorous process of combining still material of sounds and images that humanize the legendary actor and reluctant star, shedding impressionistic light on one of the most complicated and probably misunderstood man of the twentieth century.