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Martin Scorsese Masterclass in Cannes



Presenting the website



Elisabeth Bartlett is blogging the festival scene from Cannes to Los Angeles.
More on Cannes at :



Martin Scorsese at 27th Santa Barbara Int'l FIlm Fest

Martin Scorsese was honored Monday
night at the Santa Barbara International Film
. Sir Ben Kingsley was in attendance as well, to award Scorsese
with the American Riviera Award.

are some tidbits from the gentle evening in Santa Barbara paradise, 90 miles outside of Los Angeles.

the stage before Scorsese came on moderator Leonard Maltin said,  "I like to talk to a man who likes to talk." Soon enough I realized how TRUE this is about the greatest
living director of all time. Scorsese spoke for nearly three hours. It's the kind of
talking that is hard to keep track of -- he talks so much you aren't sure what
he's saying, then once you start to listen, you realize he's speaking worlds of interesting ideas per minute. Do you have enough energy to tune in? Can you handle it? I recorded the night, here are some of my favorite tidbits. 


Maltin introduced him by saying, "40 years in, having made one of the best films of his career, he is at the peak of his prowess. His passion, knowledge, inegrity, and curiosity..."


Maltin was curious if there was a moment that Scorsese felt like, 'Yes, I can do this, I can make a living in the movie business.' 

Scorsese responded about how it had to do with his asthma. "It was 1945 and I couldn't play sports or run or laugh too they took me to the movies - they didn't know what else to do."


"I don't know about making a living, we just knew that we had to make
movies. It was this fascination with an image that moved-- there was
something about finding the narrative," says Scorsese. 


"We never thought Taxi Driver was going to be a popular film. Because we were so passionate about it, ya know..."
There was a time when orchestral scores were being less and less used in
movies, but Scorsese wanted Bernard Hermann to do the score for Taxi Driver. Hermann said, "I don't do movies about cabbies." But then Scorsese showed him the script and he loved it. The score was perfect, and the night Hermann finished recording the score, he died of heart failure.


Scorsese spoke about Raging Bull, for which he won "Best Director" and De Niro won "Best Actor" for in 1980. On Paul Schrader's screenplay: "It was very precise...It was a very lean script. That's what makes it strong... and that was the key to De Niro's behavior too: lean, strong, like a knife, like a weapon. And there was that tension in the shooting of it." Scorsese has worked with Robert De Niro on eight films. The two met over a Christmas dinner at a mutual friends' house who thought they should meet. 


He reflected on when color became the norm in the 60s, and his decision to make Raging Bull in black and white. By this time color films were the norm, but Scorsese realized that color printing stock was not as strong. The last technicolor print was Godfather II-- everything after that was stock. But stock wasn't great: "Everything after 5 or 6 years would go pink, or magenta," said Scorsese of stock. "Color means something. Just the way shades of black and white and grey do in black and white film. So, it's a very very important element -- like 3D." 


On the famous Goodfellas Steadycam shot: Maltin said, "Every kid on youtube is doing these shots it's no longer quite the impact," but "this is not just a stunt shot. It's organic to the film and the story and setting up the character..." Scorsese: "Nick (co-writer Nicholas Pileggi) wrote it and I said it's gotta be a one-shot because this is the height of his life... the Copa Lounge being the Valhalla of that world in a way, and the maitre'D of that restaurant was the real maitre' D...It had to be a one-shot because it had to unfold in a way."


On No Direction Home about Bob Dylan, Scorsese says, "The
conflict is that we want you to be who we want you to be, politically
and musically, and how he broke through that..."


Scorsese spoke much more for the rest of the 3 hours about trusting the actors, and showed a delightful documentary piece about his parents, featuring them cooking lunch at their hose."


One key inspiration in making Hugo was his 12 year-old daughter. "When you have a child later in's not that they're there, they become part of you. You get into this situation where you start to hang out with each other...I went into the fantasy of the world of a child, the perception of the world of a child. You get back to the original impulse, that spark... you have to remain quick on that same path, and don't be shaken...." His wife read the book by Brian Selznick and told him he had to do it, why not "Make a film that Francesca could see for once?" And she and all her friends insisted he make something 3D. 


"The question is, do you do what people expect of you in art?" Scorsese asked.


 Before presenting the award Kinsgley said about Scorsese, "When God made you he placed your ego in
the most extraordinarily sublime place, because you are able, with that
prism inside your soul, to see the original us, to touch the child
within, and to recognize it with enormous tenderness, enormous
confidence, and enormous compassion. What differentiates you from the
other greats of your peers, is that when an actor sits down with you,
you are immediately embraced by your capacity to see the original. To
see the child within."


"He directs like a lover," says Kingsley of Scorsese, and spoke of his contribution to culture, his "hand print on our hearts." "


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About Elisabeth

Bartlett Elisabeth
Blogging about the festival scene from Los Angeles

Los Angeles

United States

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