The New York director celebrates his 80th birthday this Thursday, November 17, 2022. The opportunity for EclaireurFNAC to come back to five of his main films inspired by Italy and the United States.
Born on November 17, 1942 in Queens, New York, before growing up in the Little Italy district, Martin Scorsese was often inspired by these iconic places for his films. Through a rich filmography, the Sicilian-born filmmaker has always questioned Italian-American identity, whether through his screenplay, his characters, his favorite actors, his Catholic conception of Good and Evil, as well as his rehabilitations. . Of MeanStreets to Freedmen Passing by raging bull, his roots between the two continents have always been at the heart of his work. On the occasion of the filmmaker’s 80th birthday, l’EclaireurFNAC therefore returns to the most iconic feature films by Scorsese, symbol of a bridge between the New World and his native Sicily.
Mean Streets (1973)
Martin Scorsese meets Harvey Keitel on the set of Who’s Knocking at my Door in 1967. Six years later, he directed the actor in MeanStreets (1973), the feature film set in the Little Italy district. The film tells the story of two young men, Charlie (Harvey Keitel) and Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) who are trying to break into the mafia world. If Charlie is lucky enough to have a high-ranking uncle in the network, he takes under his wing a young, scatterbrained and insolent reveler, Johnny Boy, who will get him into a lot of trouble. The film was a real success and was critically acclaimed at the time of its release. Martin Scorsese then becomes the figurehead of New Hollywood.
Raging Bull (1980)
So it’s on the set of MeanStreets that the long and fruitful collaboration of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro – American actor, naturalized Italian – begins. In 1980, the director once again trusted the actor to carry the film raging bullafter directing it in the iconic Taxi Driver. If the feature film, winner of the Palme d’Or in 1976, filmed the New York fauna of the 1970s, with raging bullMartin Scorsese allows himself a new foray into the diversity of his origins, by offering a biopic to the American boxer of Italian origin, Jake LaMotta.
Ten years later, the director returns to New York and Italian mafia films with Freedmen. More specifically, the feature film traces the rise and fall of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his two acolytes, Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), faithful Lucchese family. Adapted from the novel Wiseguy (1985) by Italian-American journalist Nicholas Pileggi, the film was a real success. Joe Pesci, one of Scorsese’s favorite actors, whom he will find later in Casino (1995) and The Irishman (2019), will also win the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
My Trip to Italy (1999)
If Martin Scorsese is above all a director of fiction, the filmmaker tried his hand at documentaries from 1999 with My trip to Italy. In this project, Scorsese pays homage to the Italian directors who inspired him such as Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni. He also recounts his childhood memories, spent in his neighborhood of Little Italy.
In 2016, with Silence, Martin Scorsese immerses us in an unprecedented period film by filming the persecution of Christians in Japan during the 17th century. This is not the first time that Martin Scorsese has addressed the Christian faith inherited from his native Italy in his filmography. He had notably readjusted the story of Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988, and questioned this theme in Gangs of New York (2002).
Through an impressive filmography, Martin Scorsese has declined in several aspects intimate themes, inspired by his own life. In several of his creations, he questions identity and its duality, whether through nationality, or religious and moral beliefs. His latest creation Killers of the Flower Moon will plunge us into the heart of the Osage Indian tribe in Oklahoma. A new identity incursion worn by Leonardo DiCaprioexpected in 2023 on Apple TV+.
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Martin Scorsese turns 80: 5 films between America and Italy