Nobody can personify better than Martin Scorsese the realization of the American dream. Born in Queens, he grew up in a poor family watching neorealist movies with his grandparents (native of Italy) and going to the cinema with his dad (the director often says that those were his favourite moments and the only ones of true communication between the two). When he was a teenager he was torn between his passion for cinema and his aspiration to become a priest. Obviously, and luckily forall of us, he chose the first one, enrolling at the New York University. There he shot his first short films (like What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This, It’s Not Just You, Murray! and The Big Shave) and made the acquaintance of many people amazed by his talent. In this way he was able to realise “Mean Streets” (1973),even if he still had a small budget, and, thanks to the success of this one, “Taxi Driver”, his definitive consecration (Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1976).
It’s important to know Scorsese’s life since his cinematographic universe often represent the world where he grew up. In fact the director has frequently revealed that he takes inspiration for characters orsituations from his acquaintances or real life experiences. He tells stories about Italian-Americans because his family and his friends come from that environment; he employs a very powerful and intrusive music because when he was a boy he could hear the songs spreading from all the windows of the neighbourhood; he depicts the mafia universe because he met some gangsters and knows how they live and behave. That’s why his movies, particularly the ones about mafia, turn out to be so realistic and disturbing (not only because of the violence but also because of the choice to represent weird and unpleasant characters like Roberto de Niro’s Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver”) and manage to differ from others like the trilogy of “The Godfather” by Francis Ford Coppola. << The Godfather is myth, Goodfellas is reality>>.
The movie who can really sums up almost Scorsese’s entire career is “Casino” (1995): a three hours film on mafia conquering Las Vegas in the ‘70s with his fetish actors Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and a stunning Sharon Stone. Its almost circular narrative structure with flashbacks and flash forwards is exemplar of the director’s formal way to shoot. Slow motions, fast cutting, long takes and impressive camera movements are the main characteristics of this extraordinary visual master who often reserves for himself small roles à la Hitchcock and makes his dad and mum to participate to the shooting too (she’s the mother of almost his characters). His style is really one of the most identifiable in today’s cinema and his love for movies has often brought him to fight for the conservation and the restoration of old films (he created The Film Foundation with other directors in 1990).
Moreover, his talent and his creativity don’t seem to decrease with the passing of the years: his last movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013), has been a success both of public and critic and he has also recently immersed in the television world with “Boardwalk Empire” and “Vinyl” (which will air on HBO in February 2016). That’s why we can’t stop waiting with curiosity and enthusiasm for every news concerning his next projects.
Written by Camilla Gazzola