Scorsese, Martin

Scorsese, Martin
born Nov. 17, 1942, Flushing, N.Y., U.S.

U.S. film director.

Scorsese earned a graduate degree in filmmaking at New York University. After directing several short films, he won critical attention for his feature film Mean Streets (1973) and was widely praised for Taxi Driver (1976); both films starred his frequent lead actor, Robert De Niro. Noted for his realistic, violent portrayals of New York street life, innovative camera work, classic film knowledge, and a spirited cynicism, he rose to the top rank of American directors with such films as Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), GoodFellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), and Gangs of New York (2002).

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▪ American director
born November 17, 1942, Flushing, Long Island, New York, U.S.

      American filmmaker known for his harsh, often violent depictions of American culture.

      Scorsese was a frail, asthmatic child who grew up in New York City in an Italian American neighbourhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His early interest in film returned after he tried unsuccessfully to enter the Roman Catholic priesthood, and he went on to earn undergraduate (1964) and graduate (1966) degrees in filmmaking from New York University. His student films showed a wide range of influences, from foreign classics to Hollywood musicals.

      Scorsese's first theatrical film, Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1968), was an intimate portrayal of life in the streets of New York's Little Italy, where he grew up. After editing some sequences for Woodstock (1969) and directing Boxcar Bertha (1972) for Roger Corman (Corman, Roger), Scorsese in 1973 won critical attention with Mean Streets, which examines the conflict between church and street life in Little Italy. Filled with violent sequences, rapid-fire dialogue, and blaring rock music, the film was typical of his early work in its realistic detail and its naturalistic, partially improvised performances—particularly that of Robert De Niro (De Niro, Robert), the actor most associated with Scorsese's films. In 1974, in response to the accusation that he couldn't make a “woman's picture,” Scorsese directed Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, which follows a recently widowed woman (Ellen Burstyn in an Oscar-winning performance) and her son across the West in their loose, episodic journey of self-discovery.

      Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), a brutal, uncompromising film that starred De Niro as a lonely, psychopathic New York cabbie, was filled with some of the most violent sequences committed to film to that time; many rank it as Scorsese's best work. De Niro costarred with Liza Minnelli in Scorsese's next film, New York, New York (1977), which explores the troubled romantic relationship between a young jazz saxophonist and a female vocalist in the decade after World War II. Although flawed and overlong, the film developed a cult following, largely because of Scorsese's affection for old Hollywood, evident in his use of studio sets and nonnaturalistic lighting. In a change of pace, Scorsese next made The Last Waltz (1978), a documentary film of the breakup and final concert of the rock group The Band (Band, the).

      Raging Bull (1980), one of Scorsese's finest films, recounts the violent public and private life of a boxer based on the real-life prizefighter Jake La Motta (La Motta, Jake), as portrayed by De Niro, who won an Oscar for the film. The King of Comedy (1983) depicts an aspiring stand-up comedian (De Niro) who kidnaps a television star (Jerry Lewis (Lewis, Jerry)) in order to achieve the fame that obsesses him. Scorsese's darkly comic After Hours (1985) attracted a large cult following, while The Color of Money (1986), a sequel to The Hustler (1961), proved a box-office bonanza and an Oscar winner for its star, Paul Newman (Newman, Paul). The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), based on a novel by Níkos Kazantzákis (Kazantzákis, Níkos), scandalized many Christians with its depiction of Christ as tormented and unsure of his role as the Messiah.

  Scorsese returned to more familiar subject matter in GoodFellas (1990), a realistic depiction of the amoral and violent lives of three New York mobsters. In the 1990s, Scorsese's choice of subject matter was both eclectic and expected, ranging from the crime thriller Cape Fear (1991) to an adaptation of Edith Wharton (Wharton, Edith)'s romantic classic The Age of Innocence (1993) and from characteristic fare such as Casino (1995) and Bringing Out the Dead (1999) to Kundun (1997), a lavish period piece that chronicles the life of the 14th Dalai Lama. Beginning with Gangs of New York (2002), a historical epic of the New York underworld in the mid-19th century, Scorsese made a number of films with American actor Leonardo DiCaprio (DiCaprio, Leonardo). Among their subsequent collaborations were the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator (2004) and the Boston mob drama The Departed (2006). For the latter film Scorsese won his first Academy Award for best director; The Departed was also named best picture.

      Despite the diversity in his chosen subject matter, Scorsese's work contains common elements. His simultaneous fondness for and rebellion against old Hollywood is demonstrated by exploring anew clichéd plot devices that often culminate in bleak irony and moral ambiguity. He has been praised for his use of the subjective camera to portray the protagonist's point of view, an approach characterized by such subtle touches as right-to-left camera pans that move contrary to normal eye movement, thereby creating a slightly disconcerting effect and suggesting a subjectively distorted world. In all, Scorsese's films tend to be concerned with people rather than plots, and he is fond of placing his characters in volatile situations and allowing events to unfold naturally, as determined by the characters' instincts, lusts, and obsessions. One of the most important filmmakers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Scorsese reflects in his work both a cynicism toward modern culture and an obvious love of the cinema.

Additional Reading
Lester Keyser, Martin Scorsese (1992); Mary Pat Kelly, Martin Scorsese: A Journey (1996); Lawrence S. Friedman, The Cinema of Martin Scorsese (1998).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Scorsese, Martin — • СКОРСЕ ЗЕ (Scorsese) Мартин (р. 17.11.1942)    амер. режиссёр. По происхождению итальянец. Окончил киноф т Нью Йоркского ун та, затем там же преподавал киноиск во. Дебютировал ф. Кто стучится в мою дверь? (1965 69, выпуск 1976), в к ром… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Scorsese, Martin — ► (n. 1942) Director de cine estadounidense. En su filmografía destacan títulos como Taxi driver (1976), El color del dinero (1986), Casino (1995) y Gángters de New York (2000). * * * (n. 17 nov. 1942, Flushing, N.Y., EE.UU.). Director de cine… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Scorsese,Martin — Scor·se·se (skôr sĕsʹē, skōr ), Martin. Born 1942. American film director known for his psychologically complex films that emphasize character over plot, including Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980). * * * …   Universalium

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