“I’m often asked by younger filmmakers, ‘Why do I need to look at old movies?’ I’ve made a number of pictures in the last 20 years and the response I have to give them is that I still consider myself a student. The more pictures I’ve made in 20 years, the more I realize I really don’t know. And I’m always looking for something or someone that I could learn from. I tell the younger filmmakers, and the young students, that [they should] do it like painters used to do—that painters do—study the old masters, enrich your palette, expand the canvas. There’s always so much more to learn.” – Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese ranks among the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. Renowned for his visual, kinetic style, Scorsese’s innovative filmmaking is deeply informed by the filmmakers that preceded him, from early cinema to classic Hollywood movies to the personal films of Cassavetes and the 1960s New York underground film movement and world cinema, particularly the French New Wave. Following Hitchcock, Scorsese is among a small number of filmmakers who make movies that are often artistic as well as commercial successes. In this course, we will examine a range of Scorsese’s work, considering not only the violent macho movies for which he is best known (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas), but also films we'll draw from the rather large pool of supposed “anomalies” Scorsese produced, such as After Hours, King of Comedy, Last Temptation of Christ, and Age of Innocence. Taking our cue from Scorsese, the goal of this course is to study a master and in so doing, expand our understanding of filmmaking, history, and analysis. Coursework includes weekly written responses, three short papers, and a final project that has a collaborative component.