I would not be the same without italian cinema
The great protagonist of the thirteenth edition of the Rome Film Festival was, without a doubt, Martin Scorsese. Bestowed with the Lifetime Career Award presented by the hands of Paolo Taviani.
the Italian-American director, whose credits include masterpieces such as “Taxi Driver”, “Raging Bull”, “Goodfellas”, “The Age of Innocence”, “Gangs of New York”, “The Aviator” and the most recent “The Irishman”, was the protagonist of an unmissable encounter with the public in which he traced his fifty-year career, highlighting the Italian films that have most influenced him and reaffirming his commitment to preserving some of the best films of the 20th century through “The Film Foundation” he created.
Elegant in manners and attire, this cinema legend spoke to a large, admiring audience about his life and work, and he did so with humility, gratitude and a bit of emotion (Giuseppe Tornatore and Scorsese’s collaborators Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo also attended) .
In che modo il neo realismo ha influenzato il suo cinema?
“Quando avevo 5 anni, avevamo a casa un piccolo televisore che trasmetteva i film neorealisti. Per me quello non era cinema, ma il mondo reale dato che vi trovavo sempre delle analogie con la vita che conducevo e il mio ambiente familiare. Rossellini ha dato un grosso contributo al rinnovamento del cinema: quando ha avuto la percezione che l’arte fosse troppo rivolta verso se stesso, ha deciso di cambiare realizzando film didattici. Questo modo di comunicare mi ha spinto a utilizzare lo stesso metodo nei miei film da “Toro Scatenato” a “Re per una notte” fino alle produzioni più recenti”.
How did Italian neorealism influence your work?
“When I was five, at home we had a small TV where I would watch neorealist films. To me that wasn’t fiction but real life, because I always found analogies with my life and my family. Rossellini’s cinema dramatically changed the way movies were made: when he felt traditional cinema was an aesthetic illusion, he turned to reality and subjectivity. His way of communicating drove me to adopt the same approach in my films, from “Raging Bull” and “The King of Comedy” to my latest ones.
What about Fellini?
“I had the pleasure of meeting Fellini several times, once on the set of “La città delle donne”. Since “La strada”, the first film I saw, I’ve always admired him for his genius, his skill in “drawing ” characters and portraying their soul. In the Nineties we wanted to produce a documentary together, but unfortunately he died before we could do that.”
What other director, in your opinion, has revolutionized the way films are made?
“Antonioni changed the rules of movie narrative, freeing himself from narration and characters. I had to learn to read his films like a sort of “modern art” of the time. There was a time when I used to watch “The Eclipse” (1962) over and over. It’s part of a trilogy which includes “L’avventura” and “La notte”. In the film, narration is conducted through the use of light and darkness, and it has one of the most beautiful endings I have ever seen.”
Among your “heroes” you also mention Luchino Visconti…
“The impact “The Leopard” had on my film “The Age of Innocence” is evident: the deliberately slow and meditative rhythm, the anthropological study of an historical context conducted starting from the smallest detail to the macrocosm. Visconti’s film combines political commitment and drama freely, something I tried to do with De Niro when we shot “Raging bull”. What especially impressed me in “The Leopard” is the flowing of time through the eyes of Prince Salina when he realizes the old world he represents is dying and he must come to terms with the new world about to emerge, based on a concept beautifully expressed by Tomasi di Lampedusa: “for things to remain the same, everything must change”.
For “Goodfellas” were you really inspired by “Divorzio all’Italiana” by Pietro Germi?
“I took inspiration from its style and humour. Satire is expressed through the use of black and white and a specific use of the camera, but beyond that there’s a bitter truth in it.”
Some of your films deal with the Mafia…
“The unfortunate conditions of the South can be traced back to years of hardship during which corruption took root. My grandparents emigrated from Sicily to New York in 1910 hoping to find a better life there. I always asked myself why they didn’t trust the institutions, but now I understand their distrust was the outcome of thousands of years of injustice.”