Mar 26, 2011

Scorsese curates the 2011 Port Eliot festival

"Even legendary Hollywood director Martin Scorsese has never had a set like this to play with – a giant screen by a river under the stars, with a backdrop of trains rumbling across a towering viaduct designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel... It was a considerable coup for one of the summer's most eclectic festivals to persuade Scorsese to take a break from editing his first 3D film, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, filmed at Shepperton and starring Jude Law and Sir Ben Kingsley, to programme four themed double bills. All Scorsese's film choices are vintage. He is a passionate film historian and has worked with the British Film Institute (BFI) to secure the prints for his season. He has not chosen any of his own films, but that gap will be filled by discussions of his work chaired by the film writer Tom Shone. The festival organisers are working hard to create an environment which lives up to Scorsese's vision: the Paradiso will have a cocktail bar in an Airstream campervan, some seats in cardboard Cadillacs designed by the Ballet Rambert designer Michael Howells, and will also be serving hot chocolate and providing blankets and umbrellas just in case."The idea of a cinema by the river came last year when I was lying on the grass one night at last year's festival. It felt like the first time I'd lain down in days – and I thought what I'd really like now is to watch a lovely movie, right here, without having to move," Cathy St Germans said" — The Gaurdian
'Tis true. I will be chairing a discussion of Scorsese's work, and also delivering a talk on some of my favorite movie title sequences, one of which will be from a Scorsese film, though I haven't decided which one yet. It's between Mean Streets, Casino, Raging Bull, and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Scorsese's own choices will include Murder on the Orient Express (1974), North by Northwest (1959), The Leopard (1963), The River (1951) The Red Shoes (1948), and All About Eve (1950). My favorite Scorsese pictures, in turn, are:—
1. Goodfellas
2. Taxi Driver
3. Mean Streets
4. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
5. Kundun
6. Raging Bull
7. The King of Comedy
8. After Hours
9. The Departed
10. The Age of Innocence


  1. Go with "Casino." That movie never gets as much attention as some of his others (except in a derogatory "Goodfellas Redux" kind of way), but it's an interesting film and the title sequence is terrific.

    I led a Q&A with Paul Schrader following a "Taxi Driver" screening all of two nights ago, and I'm still buzzing from it.

  2. I just read your terrific account of it. Is there a full transcript?

  3. Sadly, no, The Cinema folks are wonderful, but the place is still going through growing pains (barely three months old) and it appears that documenting their infancy is a questionably low priority. This report from the audience gives a pretty good approximation of Schrader's remarks, rounds out the corners of a few things I'd forgotten.

    Do I understand correctly that you'll actually be interviewing Scorsese on the panel? I saw him in person with Roger Ebert about ten years ago (back when Roger could talk) and he was extremely engaging. Scorsese and Schrader are both very formidable personalities: I can see why they decided to end their writer-director collaborations in order to preserve their friendship. (Schrader said the arguments were starting to take a toll.) Interestingly, Scorsese may be producing a Schrader film that the latter said just might get off the ground, called Xtrme City, a Hollywood/Bollywood amalgam starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Shahrukh Khan.

  4. I won't be interviewing Scorsese, not as it stands at the moment anyway. I have met him before and found him exactly as advertised: an exhilarating talker, easily bored, "like a preacher caught halfway between the pulpit and the men's room" (Anthony Lane).