February 4, 2014

See New York City Through the Eyes of Martin Scorsese

Countless filmmakers set their stories and tripods down in New York to make their movies, but when I think about the filmmakers whose work encapsulates the unique heart and spirit of the city, two come immediately to mind: Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese. The object of Robert Kolodny's affection, and the one for which he honors in a beautiful video tribute, is Queens-native Scorsese, whose entire career could be seen as a love relationship with the city played out on celluloid. In his three-minute video, Kolodny whisks us through New York, letting us peer through the eyes of the great director through his most celebrated work.

It's nearly impossible to watch a Scorsese film and not leave with extraordinary feelings about New York. The city has been the setting of the majority of his films, and, quite naturally, has become so integral to each plot that it has become just another character in the narratives, be it Mean Streets (though much of the movie was filmed in L.A.), Taxi Driveror Goodfellas.

Again, Robert Kolodny, an editor at production house House of Nod, put together the video entitled "Scorsese's New York". Fourteen of the director's films play over a beautiful classical soundtrack -- a dance between Scorsese and a city that has inspired him throughout his entire career. It's quite stunning.

What did you think about "Scorsese's New York"? In what ways has your hometown/favorite city played a role in your narratives? Let us know in the comments.

[via House of Nod & Indiewire]

Your Comment

27 Comments

Scorsese went too far in "The Wolf". Many of the sexual scenes went too far in the office and beside being unbelievable, were down right trashy and not worthy of a great director. I expected that from someone like Harmony Korine, not Scoreses. Let's hope he can make something noteworthy soon.

February 4, 2014 at 11:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

1
Reply
William

It is time to loosen up a bit in the US, why is the slightest nudity or intercourse shown on screen considered NSFW but you'd happily feed your growing up generations of future citizens with glorified violence of 'heroes' mowing through corpses like there is tomorrow, maybe this is why there are that many psychopaths and serial killers in the US who repress their natural instincts and rather turn to violence.
Kudos to Scorsese for pushing the limits of censorship!

February 5, 2014 at 12:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

1
Reply
Raul

@Raul - I don't think violence in film is such a good thing either.

Yet, just to talk it out for a second, I do think sexual content is a bigger problem at the moment. People tend to know that murder is wrong, so when we see it in a film we know it's a bad guy doing it or a good guy doing it for the right reasons. It might be lame storytelling, but it's (usually) not a perversion of morals. When a good guy is committing unjustified violence, we tend to read that as a break in character.

But with sex- society is sick and it doesn't know how to differentiate right from wrong anymore. I'm not going to list all the ways- but take for example adultery. If not an outright affair, modern society condones pornography or fantasizing about a partner other than one's spouse. This is terribly twisted.

Yet when immoral sexual behavior is shown on the screen, a modern audience doesn't know what to do with it. Do we read abusive behavior as immoral or not? Our civilization is extremely screwed up in this area and needs detox.

February 5, 2014 at 3:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

2
Reply

I disagree. There are numerous examples of better adjusted societies who have much more overtly sexual entertainment. They show porno on regular TV in France (or used to, not sure if its still a current thing).
How many mass murders, killing sprees or serial killers has France ever had? Maybe enough to rival one year in the USA?

I think American's need to stop blaming our entertainment outlets for our failures as parents.
It isn't Hollywood's job to teach your kids morality, that is your job (speaking generally not about anyone personally).
We already have the MPAA, PMRC, the Comics Code and Standards and Practices.
We don't need further editorialism of our entertainment.

February 6, 2014 at 5:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply
Russ D

+1 billion. I haven't seen the film because of this reason. Thank you, William, for being sane.

One of my favorite quotes of all time, you can see it in the beginning of McKee's Story, is:

"When the storytelling goes bad in society, the result is decadence." -Aristotle

February 5, 2014 at 2:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply

I don't think the guy has ever had an element to his films that wasn't deliberate, and I really doubt he added an excessive amount of depraved sexual and drug behavior without meaning to express the over the top excess of this guy's life.

February 7, 2014 at 1:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply
Kripalski

Trust me, those sex scenes did not go too far. Is sex between consenting adults ever a bad thing?

February 5, 2014 at 12:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

3
Reply
Elliot Kramer

Garry Shandling had this great joke back in the day, "So, this gal and I are done making love and I ask, "Honey was this good for you?" She replies, "Garry, trust me. This wasn't good for anybody".
.
In any case, Woody Allen is about Manhattan and Martin Scorsese is more about Brooklyn. So, Woody's (and Gordon Willis's) with a retort.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2akLhosPEg

February 5, 2014 at 1:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

3
Reply
DLD

Snorting cocaine out of a woman ass hole at an office party? Get real. That's not pushing the envelope, that just tells me how prominent cocaine is in the lives of Hollywood filmmakers.

February 5, 2014 at 10:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply
William

Make that western society in general, particularly among politicians, truckers, oil and mine workers, law enforcement and yes, the entertainment industry. besides, java lovers that have 8+ cups a day are in the same boat. A human without a daily altered states of mind is called a monk.

February 5, 2014 at 6:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

4
Reply
Agni Ortiz

Ah! I guess I'm a monk then. But it's ok. A buddhist monk.

February 6, 2014 at 2:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply

To all the prudes here just go away. No we dont care about your opinion, I've been living in the US for three years now and I am shocked when I see how Americans view sex in the media. Sex is wrong but blood, guts, violence is all good, hey that's natural, but intercourse? NO. IT DOESNT HAPPEN!

@William : The sexual scenes went too far? Really? have you been living in a convent? People are animals, we like screwing, its an instinct, a natural urge. People do have sex. How did you get here? Artificial Insemination?

@David Komer -1 billion times. YOU cant differentiate from right and wrong, dont tell me what I can't see or not see. Modern audiences are much more perceptive and intelligent than you think. It's you that has the problem not the modern audience.
eg. A drug fueled orgy on a plane with consenting adults, moral or amoral? Well the money he used for all his orgies were money that he basically "stole" from ordinary folk. So obviously the act itself is immoral but not because of the sex, or the orgy, its because of how he paid for it. Your brain can't distinguish between the two?

February 5, 2014 at 11:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

1
Reply
Harry

Harry, before we get into the more complicated subject of consenting adults, let's deal with the simpler situation of adultery. Do you consider that immoral?

February 5, 2014 at 12:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply

Yes it's immoral and you are going to burn in hell... D'oh!

February 5, 2014 at 2:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

3
Reply
demetris

Do you need a film to end with all immorality punished?

February 5, 2014 at 3:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

1
Reply
Pippy

Down endings are powerful. I would say it can actually be more powerful when immorality is rewarded, even right up through the ending. Think for example the ending of Chinatown. Yet, there's a massive difference between that, and confusion of what good and bad morals are. There's (hopefully) no question who the bad guy is in Chinatown, and we (should) feel sick to our stomachs when he gets away with it. Contrast that with many of today's stories with sexually depraved characters and ask the audience how they feel about it. Many times they are confused. They root for the slimebag. It's messed up and a socially conscious filmmaker should, in my opinion, be more aware to what's going on with the world and take better care of their audience.

February 5, 2014 at 4:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

2
Reply

Some of the best movies I have ever seen elucidate the concept that the good and bad resides entirely in the eyes of the perceiver.
Need I say "Rashomon"?
Nearly all of John Woo's good movie's (post kung fu/swordplay, Pre Hollywood) many of Coppola's and Scorcese's better movies examine the concept that good and evil are not absolutes but hats that we choose to wear.
I found Wolf of Wall st to be a tedious movie. Not because of the spectacularly filmed boobs, but because Jonah Hill played the same character he always does, and the soundtrack was basically the same as Goodfellas. (Hey I love Devo and the Stones but really?)

February 6, 2014 at 5:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

1
Reply
Russ D

Correction, Woody Allen is more Upper West Side Bourgeoisie, which he parodies often in his films about NYC. Scorsese is NYC grit, Little Italy, LES, Chinatown, Harlem, Hell's Kitchen, not so much Brooklyn (with the exception of Goodfellas maybe). Both filmmakers have different interpretations of the same borough. Obviously they're both attracted to different themes in this area of the city.

February 5, 2014 at 11:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

1
Reply
Joel

David: I don't consider adultery to be immoral because of my own personal opinions on marriage, polygamy, monogamy and so on. IMO human beings are not monogamous by nature so in the right circumstances adultery is inevitable. Obviously there are exceptions like with everything. So in short, adultery is natural, like with sex.

I can't for the life of me accept that there are people out there , "filmmakers" aspiring or not that whose first comment on a Martin Scorsese post is how his latest film is immoral or too much sex. Scorsese is a master of the medium and we wish we had an iota of his vision and talent. Too much sex? Is there such thing?

February 5, 2014 at 2:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

1
Reply
Harry

No matter how natural the urge may be- it's wrong to abandon, and even worse to hurt, someone who depends on you. Whether it's a lover, child, friend, neighbor- doesn't matter really, and the urge to be selfish at the expense of others exists with all of those. I would emphasize the practical stuff like sharing bills and responsibilities, but the emotional is important too.

Let me guess: "if everyone involved knows what they're getting into, and they're fine with it, then nobody gets hurt". Well- I've never met a person who was really, truly okay with rejection and abandonment from the people they love. Have you?

At the very least, I consider that- causing other people pain for no reason other than selfish pleasure- immoral.

I don't think I'm going to continue this... but I do hope you take this conversation and stick it into your back pocket when you meet a girl who you can see yourself building a family with. She'll appreciate it if you consider these things.

For what it's worth, I don't think your first comment was much better than mine- but of course Scorsese is a genius we all aspire to on a professional level. On a moral/spiritual level, I prefer his work on Hugo and Kundun to this sort of thing.

February 5, 2014 at 5:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply

@William. You have NO idea what you're talking about. What Scorsese movie is toned down and great? Was Goodfellas too much for you? Or Casino, Raging Bull? This is WHY we go to the movies. It wasn't trashy at all, WoW was a representation of Jordan's life. And if that was too much for you, then you shouldn't be watching Scorsese movies. Get the pole out of your ass.

February 5, 2014 at 4:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply
Frank

Frank how do you know that was a representation of Jordan's life? Were you there? Did you read the book? How many stock brokers have you talked to that worked in NYC during that time period? Jordan was a salesman who lied about everything. Did these events really take place or did he just put them in his book to sell a few more copies? He obviously sold Hollywood. Frank you're full of crap little man. Do your homework.

February 5, 2014 at 8:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply
William

Frank, I agree with you 100%
For those of you who haven't hit puberty or are sexually deprived. It's not the artists job to judge the characters or the story.
Martin scorsese said once that he never judges the characters. He portrays the characters truths. That's the job of the filmmaker to use the camera lie his pen to tell the story. And martin scorsese uses his powerful visual vocabulary that he has attained from watching thousands of films. Yes the material is very adult. But that's why it has an R rating. If you don't like material that pushes boundaries than go watch a Disney movie or make a kids movie. But don't hate on a master filmmaker that loved cinema all cinema. A filmmaker who fights to preserve beautiful films of the past.

I’m often asked by younger filmmakers, why do I need to look at old movies — And the response I find that I have to give them is that I still consider myself a student. The more pictures I’ve made in the past twenty years the more I realize I really don’t know. And I’m always looking for something to, something or someone that I could learn from. I tell them, I tell the younger filmmakers and the young students that I do it like painters used to do, or painters do: study the old masters, enrich your palette, expand your canvas. There’s always so much more to learn- martin scorsese

February 5, 2014 at 10:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply
Aaron

Heh, Freudian slip: "He portrays the characters truths. That’s the job of the filmmaker to use the camera **lie**"

Not to nitpick a word, but I think it's not a mistake. Narratives aren't documentaries. Documentaries aren't usually the whole truth either. As a master he could tell the story a hundred different ways. Gratuitous sex is unnecessary and, more importantly, harmful to most moviewatchers if not the story itself.

I wouldn't call gratuitous sex scenes "adult", I would call them "adolescent." A more adult approach would be to take in consideration of how it makes actual adults feel when they watch it. I've talked to my wife about these things. Have you asked your girlfriend/wife/whatever how they feel when you are fantasizing about someone else? Odds are they're hurt. That's not the sort of thing I think an artist should be adding into the world. Do you?

I started watching The Counselor (Ridley Scott) the other day and it began so beautifully- you saw two bodies but completely under the sheets, from above the sheets. It was a powerful image with zero nudity or profanity, yet completely communicated that these people, whoever they were, are loving eachother. That's an adult way of dealing with a sex scene if it must be done. Then he went juvenile with it (and I skipped the scene)- what a waste. But my wife was happy that I skipped it and I'd rather not hurt someone I care about than watch relatively pointless erotica.

As I said above, nobody is questioning Scorsese's mastery of the craft or dedication to cinema. Obviously he's one of the great masters. I just wish he'd use his talents for the good of the world more consistently. Not necessarily from the perspective of how it affects his characters, but rather how it affects his audience

February 6, 2014 at 1:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply

Really....this is a advantageous online site.

February 6, 2014 at 2:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply

Nice video.
Personnaly I live in Paris, but I never did any video about it. I have a Paris video project with timelapses but i don't have time right now.
Weirdly, there are probably more american films about Paris than french films. Many french films happen in Paris but it's not really shown, they are not a testament of the actual place and time.
And many films are made elsewhere, even if productions are in Paris.

February 6, 2014 at 2:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

3
Reply

Although I love the individual clips of Scorsese, I'm sorry to say that immo the work of the editor is not stunning, is made without an initial concept, putting together shots without a thought of a sequence combination, going in and out of B/W, colour & epoque and with no imagination of a possible new story-line. Can't help but to expose my feelings. Sorry

February 8, 2014 at 1:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

0
Reply
bruper