Martin Scorsese, one of the most important directors of our time, is a great stylist and archaeologist of the cinema. In his films, he narrates accounts of the people and the conflicts of his country. The exhibition elucidates Scorsese’s sources of inspiration and his specific working methods; it shows how much his artistic approach to telling stories has characterized modern American cinema.
Although the locations and time periods may change in Martin Scorsese’s films, we encounter the most important issues in the lives of his protagonists again and again. His cinematic characters’ relationships to one another are defined by distrust, fear and betrayal on the one hand, and a search for safety, trust and closeness on the other. Often the networks of relationships seem determined by fate rather than individual choice. Violence plays a central role, just like the search for spirituality.
The setting of the films is frequently New York, particularly Little Italy – a neighborhood at one time predominantly inhabited by Italian immigrants, where Scorsese grew up. His characters in these New York films often originate from this urban microcosm; and his cinematic obsessions developed here, in the streets of his childhood.
The rich spectrum of Scorsese’s oeuvre spans from experimental beginnings, through documentaries and music films, to the psychothriller. The influence of works of European auteur cinema and of the classic Hollywood repertoire are also recognizable in his work. Martin Scorsese has developed his own cinematic handwriting based on his interests in uncovering the motives of human behavior and the language of film.
This first major exhibition about the director was principally compiled from his private collection in New York, as well as the collections of Robert De Niro and Paul Schrader from the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to his artistic work, the exhibition pays tribute to Martin Scorsese’s commitment to the preservation of our international film heritage, with which he has built a bridge beween cinema’s history and its future.