The Philosophy of Martin Scorsese (The Philosophy of Popular Culture)

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His love affair with film began in the local cinemas where his father would take him and his elder brother Frank, and in front of the television set that his family bought largely to keep him amused — the first on the street. Scorsese would spend hours watching good films, bad films — any films — drawing his own scenes, frame by frame, in a notebook and flicking the pages to create his own animated movies. Even now, when shooting a film, he works from extremely detailed storyboards that he has drawn himself. His decision to study for the priesthood was rooted in pragmatism.

In , at the age of 14, he enrolled at the Cathedral College on the Upper West Side, planning to study in the junior seminary and then take his vows.

He lasted a year before the distraction of a girlfriend led to his being expelled. Scorsese once said that his whole life 'has been movies and religion. Nothing else. He talks about cinema as if it were a religion. Filmmaking was not simply a matter of learning technique and craft and mastering technology, he said, but of passion and desire. In the clip he chose, the impresario Lermontov asks the young ballet dancer, Vicky, 'Why do you want to dance? You have no choice. He went on to talk about another of the significant influences on his life as a filmmaker — Shadows, made by the director John Cassavetes, who is widely regarded as the father of American independent cinema.

It inspired in him the idea that he too could make films drawing on his own world and experiences and rooted in emotional truth. Cassavetes became a close friend and mentor — unstinting in his support of Scorsese, and unsparing in his criticism. The result was Mean Streets, made in , the story of a small-time hoodlum in Little Italy, torn between the conflicting codes of the Church and the mob.

Martin Scorsese says that many of the themes that recur in his films — the struggle to find morality in an immoral world, male camaraderie, what a life of violence can do to a man — can be traced to the streets of his childhood. A lot of it was my own doing. Ha, ha, ha! Well, maybe it was. Scorsese was a smasher of telephones, a thrower of glasses, a puncher of walls, who frequently fought with studios, collaborators, girlfriends and wives.


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His second, to the writer Julia Cameron, ended in He and Robertson shared a house in the Hollywood Hills and a prodigious appetite for cocaine. When they took the film to Cannes in the spring of and were unable to score coke, Scorsese dispatched a private jet to Paris to secure supplies. Later that same year he had his own personal Calvary when he was rushed to hospital with internal bleeding and almost died. At his bedside Robert De Niro pleaded with him to look again at a book that De Niro had given him some years earlier: Raging Bull, the autobiography of Jake La Motta, the former world champion middleweight boxer.

From the outset, he has tended to work with a small roster of male actors and his central protagonists have always tended to be male who share his vision and sensibility. Harvey Keitel was an early favourite. De Niro came from the same neighbourhood as Scorsese. And then Leo really gets into it and we start unravelling all these layers.

And with Shutter Island the story really lent itself to that. Scorsese is a collector. Like Greene, Scorsese describes himself as a lapsed Catholic. He has not been to confession since , but you sense that film has become his confessional, and that his characters are surrogates that he is sending out into the world to solve his moral dilemmas for him.

Talking of his film The Departed, he once said that what attracted him to the story was that 'Good and bad become very blurred. When I tell Scorsese that, notwithstanding his doubts, Graham Greene kept a photograph of the Capuchin priest and stigmatic Padre Pio in his wallet until the day he died, his face lights up. Are you less angry now? But the anger in the olden days may have been more self-consuming, where you could not get out of it. But I think in the past 15 or 16 years, round about the time my parents died, I had to assume a lot of responsibilities and obligations.

He pauses, thinking about this. He was married for the fifth time in , to Helen Morris. Anger is one way of expressing it. And I think the anger now is more towards the way things are than in myself. So that I have to find my place in that, rather than consuming myself in uselessness. The films that critics often cite as being among his most accomplished — Mean Streets and Raging Bull — were not outstanding commercial successes.

The films that one senses were the closest to his heart — The Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun , about the early life of the Dalai Lama — both involved a prolonged struggle to bring to the screen. Scorsese dedicated the film to his mother, Catherine, who died in And it took him five years to make The Last Temptation, in the face of studio indifference. The film eventually won Scorsese his second Oscar nomination for Best Director. He would be nominated three more times before finally winning the award in with The Departed.

There are obligations everywhere, because it costs money, and you have to be reasonable — up to a point, of course. I always complain, and then you try and do it again.

Martin Scorsese on the Importance of Visual Literacy

Stephen Frears first met Scorsese in Frears went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for the film. Frears flew to New York. I mean it was to do with film, all his archive was there, and all these people working. And I thought, how extraordinary, that in spite of being an artist you actually are running a business. Such a shot is also used in Casino and The Departed His blonde leading ladies are usually seen through the eyes of the protagonist as angelic and ethereal; they wear white in their first scene and are photographed in slow motion Cybill Shepherd in Taxi Driver ; Cathy Moriarty 's white bikini in Raging Bull ; Sharon Stone 's white minidress in Casino.

He provides the opening voice-over narration in Mean Streets and The Color of Money ; plays the off-screen dressing room attendant in the final scene of Raging Bull , and provides the voice of the unseen ambulance dispatcher in Bringing Out the Dead. More recently, his films have featured corrupt authority figures, such as policemen in The Departed [] and politicians in Gangs of New York [] and The Aviator. He has also been known for his liberal usage of profanity, dark humor , and violence. Scorsese often casts the same actors in his films, particularly Robert De Niro , who collaborated with Scorsese for eight feature films and one short film.

After the turn of the century, Scorsese found a new muse with younger actor Leonardo DiCaprio , collaborating for five feature films to date, along with one short. Before their deaths, Scorsese's parents, Charles Scorsese and Catherine Scorsese, appeared in bit parts, walk-ons or supporting roles, most notably in Goodfellas. Academy Award for Best Actor :. Academy Award for Best Actress :. Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor :. Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress :. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 23 September For other people with the surname, see Scorsese surname.

For the King Missile song, see Martin Scorsese song. American-Italian film director, screenwriter, producer and actor. Scorsese at the Berlin Film Festival. New York City , U. Laraine Marie Brennan m. Julia Cameron m. Isabella Rossellini m. Barbara De Fina m. Helen Schermerhorn Morris m. Charles Scorsese Catherine Scorsese. Further information: Martin Scorsese filmography.

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See also: List of film director and actor collaborations. Full awarding list. Awarding record. Major awards received by Scorsese movies:. Listen to his own explanation. Season 5. Episode September 26, September 29, Last modified September 5, Retrieved April 1, Village Voice. Archived from the original on January 7, Retrieved February 14, Archived from the original on August 31, Retrieved March 3, The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 10, Retrieved January 5, National Endowment for the Humanities. Archived from the original on February 26, Retrieved January 24, Archived from the original on January 13, Eye for Film.

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