April 23, 2014

Martin Scorsese Highlights Cinema's Great Risk-Takers, from Welles to Cassavetes

We all have filmmakers that we admire -- ones that exemplify the artistry of the craft and speak to us on a deep, personal level. Well, Martin Scorsese took some time to discuss the directors whose careers he admires, namely for their boldness in taking risks narratively and cinematically. Billy Wilder, John Cassavetes, and Orson Welles, just to name a few, receive the Scorsese treatment in their own (very) short video analysis. Continue on to check them all out!

Scorsese opens by saying:

Every director of note, he or she who has something to say, who can mount a picture beautifully mostly have to take a lot of risks. And in so doing change the whole way in which films are made. They change the path.

There are so many ways in which history's greatest filmmakers have taken risks with the medium, whether it's breaking apart the linear narrative, providing a commentary on social issues, or inventing new cinematographic techniques to tell stories visually.

Scorsese highlights the work of 7 filmmakers: Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, Roberto Rosselini, Powell and Pressburger, John Cassavetes, Robert Altman, and William Friese-Greene. Though these videos are by no means a comprehensive evaluation of exactly what makes each director a risk-taker (you can't get very thorough in a minute and a half), Scorsese touches on the most important reasons why the risks taken by these directors are, in fact, risks -- how they challenged and changed societal, historical, and cinematic norms.

He touches on how Welles challenged the way films were photographed with his deep focus shots, how Rosselini challenged cinema's purpose in society, proving that films can have great influence in our world, and how Cassavetes demolished the perception that great films are made in big film studios with even bigger film stars.

What do you think of Scorsese's chosen risk takers? Which filmmakers do you think took great risks, changing the way we make, watch, and treat films? Let us know in the comments.

[via Rooster/NYCinephilia and Beyond]

Your Comment

9 Comments

Love hearing this man talk about film history. To anybody who liked this, I thoroughly recommend picking up "A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies". Phenomenal documentary that, honestly, was the final push that made me decide to want to be a filmmaker.

April 23, 2014 at 9:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Coty

Let's not forget "My Voyage to Italy"!

April 23, 2014 at 7:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff G

KOO - ManChild update please.. Eagerly awaiting..

April 23, 2014 at 1:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Archie

What does this have to do with anything? Wrong place.

April 25, 2014 at 1:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff

As with everything Scorsese says about "film history" it's all american films with one Italian director mixed in. I'm always shocked at how narrow his viewing habits are for such a self proclaimed cinefile.

October 14, 2017 at 10:52AM

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chris
390

He’s also a fan of Kurosawa, Bergman, and many other foreign filmmakers from a variety of different countries. Do some research for once.

October 14, 2017 at 6:01PM

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Henry Barnill
Director of Photography
583

He named those two on his list of several dozen films you should see 'before you die' or something, so what? His lists are always massively narrow and contain very few non-american films, which is always very surprising for someone that talks so much about cinema. If you haven't noticed that it's you that needs to do research.

October 15, 2017 at 8:41AM

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chris
390

Wrong. Go back and do some MORE research. Tell ya what, why don't you name your top 10 foreign films and why they should be considered mandatory viewing. I've learned more about foreign filmmakers through Scorsese more than any other source. Period.

October 15, 2017 at 11:16AM

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It's not wrong just because you knew literally zero about non-american filmmakers until you read a list from Scorsese. His list of the 39 foreign films you should see before you die had like 13 or so directors many with 3 films, 11 or 12 of the films were italian....for the whole of fucking world cinema!!!! It's laughable for someone with such a reputation for loving cinema. No director should appear even twice on such a short list, it just shows narrow viewing, which is surprising given his love for film.
Also my list wouldn't matter but i tell you what- it wouldn't have any filmmaker listed more than once, because we are talking about the whole of world cinema!!! That was a big part of my issue with his lists..

October 16, 2017 at 5:26PM, Edited October 16, 5:30PM

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chris
390