Watch: Martin Scorsese’s Urban Murals In Motion
If David Lynch is American filmmaking’s Surrealist, and Michael Mann is its Impressionist, then certainly Martin Scorsese is its Abstract Expressionist. There has been no director before or since who could equal the unbridled energy, awareness, and imagination of early films like ‘Taxi Driver,’ ‘Mean Streets,’ or ‘Raging Bull’; the films’ leaps, swoops, dives and feints were carried out within the context of a crucially American vision, of what it meant to be lost, unmoored, within the complexity of a culture that was and would forever be bigger than its individual components. This beautiful animation of the opening monologue of ‘Taxi Driver’ by Piotr Kabat brings out this restless, relentless, churning, hundred-eyed aesthetic of Scorsese’s with memorable elegance and suspension, momentarily making one wonder what would have happened if Scorsese would have made a swerve and gone into animation.
Watch: Martin Scorsese’s Films Have a Lot of Crucifixion Poses. Why Is That?
What do Travis Bickle, Howard Hughes, Jesus Christ, Rupert Pupkin, and Jordan Belfort have in common? Apart from being crucial figures in Martin Scorsese’s films, they have all made a gesture that could be described as a prototypical Scorsese gesture: arms outstretched, body (more or less) upright, body language that says to the universe: Do what you wish, think what you wish, say what you wish. Here I am.
The gesture also, though, looks a great deal like a crucifixion–and in the case of Jesus, was one. Milad Tangshir examines the recurrence of this image in Scorsese’s films and, in so doing, makes one wonder if, by isolating and exposing his male figures this way, from ‘The Last Temptation of Christ
‘ to ‘Taxi Driver
‘ to ‘The Wolf of Wall Street
,’ he is in fact, in a sense, crucifying them.
Watch: Martin Scorsese’s Career Highlights, Shown Through Close-Ups
Though one would not typically associate Martin Scorsese with the close-up shot, given that he is more recognizable as a director who paints with an extremely broad brush about large personalities, large crimes, and large deficits, brought to the screen with majestic, aggressive, quintessentially American camera work, this startling compilation of close-up shots by Jorge Luengo brings another side of the director’s work to light, one which accentuates imperfection, difficulty, the ugliness of conflict, the difficulty of simply existing. To look at this video, you’d think you were ruminating on a different director, and not the man who simultaneously brought us ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Hugo,’ ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘The Aviator,’ ‘Cape Fear’ and "Goodfellas.’ Take a peek at it, and see if your thoughts on Scorsese aren’t changed.