Filmmaking bleeds a lot of financial and creative factors, with both providing an extensive history of hits and flops (or thumbs up or thumbs down, for those paying attention). From the producers keen eye on budgets, schedule and staff to the overall efforts put together by set, prop and costume designers, the craft of putting a movie together passes through a lot of hands. Evidently, the responsibility falls into the hands of the mind at the head of the helm, the director. Anyone near a cinema over the past 50 years would no doubt see the influence, directors specifically, have had on all popular culture. Names like John Carpenter, Clint Eastwood, John Cassavetes and Alejandro Jodorowsky spring to mind, but few have been as influential as the class of movie brats in the mid 1970’s. Comprising of Steven Spielberg, Brian DePalma, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppala, these post war screen addicts all played a hand in defining the world and Americana as it moved forward. Of all these generation X filmmakers, Little Italy (New York) native – Martin Scorsese compiled his own stories of anti-heroes, fighters and criminals all re-imaging their idea of The American Dream. Having hosted exhibitions for other cinematic heavyweights like Stanley Kubrick, Dreamworks and Miranda July, it’s only fitting to see The Australian Centre of The Moving Image, displaying tidbits from the mind that gave us the stories of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Casino. Collecting the cinematic experiences production motifs, Scorsese is a manifestation of the many elements glued to a filmmakers vision, with a focus on costume, cinematography, editing, memorabilia and the film-making process as a whole, along with stories from the artist himself.
Set inside the darkly lit trenches of ACMI’s display space, this wall covering display twists and turns through the directors filmography, much like the characters entrenched in them. Covered in darkness, while lit like the deep New York streets (he has helped define), the exhibit allows its audience plenty to see, in a variety of formats. Hand written notes, scripts, set images, editing sheets, memorabilia, clips and a replica boxing ring are just some of the items bringing this work together, giving the audience plenty to observe and dissect. The directors own Palme d’Or being a particular highlight, an award given to Scorsese for the 1976 classic, Taxi Driver, his most defining piece (at that point) and a film that shares the same acclaim as Kurosawa’s Kagemusha, Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, among others. While presented as an encompassing experience, Scorsese wisely divides itself into seperate sections of the creative process, highlighting the filmmakers creativity, enthusiasm and inevitable execution. Circling the perimeter a number of times unfolds new experiences at each turn, along with a list of films you have to see once passing the exit. Scorsese’s body of work is so varied, so unique, that it’s hard to pinpoint just what kind of director he is. While most will be familiar with his crime orientated features, many religious and playful directions can be found in his repertoire, from Kundun to Hugo and (the yet to be released) Silence, a perfect example of the directors fearless ambition. Scorsese is a true storyteller at heart, connecting the buried demographics we all share within our storied lives. Some of us live through the solitude of being second, third or even fourth generation immigrants of a bustling city, others live among the big city lights, gleaming in monetary pride and then there’s those of us who simply take the good with the bad, hoping to break even in the end, for Scorsese, the most important discussion amongst it all is the morality and mortality we share. A filmmaker, excluded from sequels, prequels and remakes (except maybe one), Martin Scorsese leaves his audience with nothing left on the table, as the final reel rolls through. Passing the neon signs, flashing screens, rock ‘n’ roll music, celebrities, paraphernalia, costumes and every other piece compiled for this special display, Scorsese provides its audience an unguided tour into the mind of one of cinemas most versatile and important directors.
SCORSESE is open now, until September 18, at The ACMI in Federation Square.
MUST WATCH: Goodfellas, Casino, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Kundun, The Color of Money, George Harrison: Living in the Material World