Martin Scorcese

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Based on your assigned role for assignment 3, the film project, discuss the role, its significance and impact on filmmaking. You must include at least three examples from canonic film works.

This essay will endeavor to discuss the role and functions of directing and its overall influence on modern filmmaking. While directing techniques differ from each director, for the purpose of this essay, one hopes to focus on a number of individual elements used by directors to convey their particular message to the wider audience. Close analysis will be given to individual scenes in several pieces of work to illustrate the importance of the director’s expressive force behind a film. One also hopes to concentrate on the director’s stylistic analysis and the devices used to elicit emotions with his/her audience. Precise and productive observations are trademarks of a great director and occasionally the use of unconventional methods are what separate the great from the good. For that matter, the aims of this essay are to concentrate on one particular director who has both intrigued and shocked audiences for the last forty years. His style has earned him numerous awards for his avant-garde approach to filmmaking where he continues to set new standards, even today. Martin Scorsese has been described as the greatest American filmmaker of his generation and an Auteur of contemporary film, therefore particular attention will be given to his distinguishable directorial style.

‘Directors are catalysts in so far as they facilitate the coming together of culturally important structuring motifs, the full weight of which may be quite beyond them ‘. Most directors would arguably pertain to these sentiments, as the scope of a particular production may not become apparent until it is well under way. ‘Filmmaking is an organic, physical process that must adapt to the unfolding reality of cast and shooting. Only by sustained and methodical script development can the director fully inhabit every aspect of the story, explore all its potential, and capitalize on the cinema’s strength’. The complexities of delivering an emotional narrative may rest with the entire production team but the essence of the story lies within the ability of the director to accurately articulate it. It is this direction, which allows for great success in delivering unforgettable movies. The secret to Scorsese movies is the director’s capacity to deliver a film, which can successfully connect the audience to its themes of inner city life, and the sometimes-unpleasant nature of its existence. His movies can both unite and divide audiences alike, and it is his use of alternative expressionist methods, which facilitates these mixed emotions. Scorsese is unafraid to use unusual cinematic techniques to thrust the viewer into the characters minds and emotions, and is successful in delivering this subjectivity quite well. While there are wide ranges of components used, certain attention is given to specific elements, creating recurring motifs, which overlap many of his films.

A common feature used in Scorsese’s films is his use of tone and color within the frame. ‘Scorsese uses the color red in a more consistently sublime manner than most living directors – equaled only by Italian master of horror, Dario Argento – and always it refers to his catholic background’. Bar scenes are usually illuminated with red lighting and this can create a dark and erotic tone. In Goodfellas, 1990, the color red was used prominently throughout the film, giving the scenes a menacing and ominous tone. In his book Gangster Priest: The Italian American Cinema Of Martin Scorsese, author Robert Casillo comments that the color red is associated with ‘blood, violence, suffering and passion’. In the opening scene the audience is given an indication of this as the graphic murder of Billy Batts is carried out under the crimson glare of the cars lights. The beams illuminate the faces of the three men,...
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