Oscar Directors: Scorsese, Martin–Auteur, Vision, Sensibility

Research in progress, Nov 22, 2022


There are unashamed self-consciousness and self-reflexivity in Scorsese’s work. The construction of his film goes beyond the narrative and setting, it’s never in service of the plot or the viewers expectations.

There’s kinetic energy at work that threatens to overtake the story.

His films involve antagonism and struggles, manifest in constant movement of the camera within tightly circumscribed spaces that have no exit.

Most of his characters succumb to their loneliness, isolation, and antagonism.

He chooses camera movement over cuts to make a point about the narrative or character.

He is closer to Arthur Penn of Mickey One and Bonnie and Clyde by showing characters of certain class or ideology.

But unlike Penn, there is greater stylization, which eschews Hollywood more prevalent mode of realism.

Scorses creates rich allusiveness, a celebration of cinema as a unique medium through the references to other works.

He is like Godard and Bertolucci in his need/wish to experiment with more conventional genres.

Unlike Kubrick, Scorsese does not use stately camera positions, or intellectual distance and rigor.

Unlike Altman, there is no overt or radical experimentation with cinematic space.

Scorsese is most comfortable and most successful with films about lowlifes, street toughs, petty criminals, and figures who live on the margins of urban life.

He has done period and costume films, like The Age of Innocence, and three religious epics, The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun, and Silence, all passion projects that failed at the box-office.