Imagine little Martin stalled in front of the black and white television set at Elizabeth Street's family apartment in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York. It is a sickly, dramatically asthmatic kid, who is banned from sports and fights with friends. He is destined to become a priest, but, for the moment, the cinema, which he discovers on the small family screen and sometimes in the dark rooms of New York, is an unexpected refuge. What films will mark this kid aside, then this young man who will one day become the legendary director of Taxi Driver ? Those he will never forget more, those who will grow in him the desire to be in turn director, those whose references will continually irrigate his own films as it is true that there is no more work a film buff that Martin Scorsese? Thanks to Cinetek, VoD's formidable platform conceived by the three French directors Cédric Klapisch, Pascale Ferran and Laurent Cantet, we can now walk into the intimate pantheon of Scorsese.
The principle of the site, which has existed since 2015 and attracts more and more subscribers? Ask directors to list the 50 films of their lives … And, once the rights of these works obtained, put them online against a low subscription. Nearly 70 directors, from James Gray to John Woo, through François Ozon or Nanni Moretti, have already agreed to play the game. Today, so it is the director of the Time of innocence and Departed which is engaged in this difficult inventory, offering the Cinetek not one but two lists, the first, which he calls "founding films", has been online since today. To go through it is to see the cinema with the eyes of Scorsese, it is to understand a little the springs of his work haunted by the violence, the stories of siblings and rival gangs, the question of the fall and the redemption. There are obviously the classics 2001, the Space Odyssey and Barry Lyndon from Stanley Kubrick, Jules and Jim François Truffaut, several films by Orson Welles and John Cassavetes.
A grammar and an inspiration
But there are many other nuggets, perhaps a little less known. The Voyeur, by Michael Powell, a horrifying story of a young filmmaker who attracts victims to his studio and films their agony. The Fantastic Twenties, Raoul Walsh, a pure gangster movie about the urban epic of three friends at the time of prohibition. Ordetby Carl Theodor Dreyer, the disturbing story of a strict Lutheran pastor and his three sons. There are also several works by Powell and Pressburger, including The red slippers and The Tales of Hoffmann, which Scorsese describes as a "real treasure" in the letter he sent to Cédric Klapish to justify his choices. It is moving, moreover, this letter in which the director is worried about forgetting loved films, pays tribute to Ozu who has never ceased to fascinate him, says the late revelation that was for him the work by Mikio Naruse, especially repeats how much this pantheon of images, even today, helps him to live and work!
"The films that upset and obsessed me in my youth were as instructive as they were determinants, because they shook my conscience," he writes. They became a source of inspiration and even served as a grammar for the films I made later. When I experience them again, many of these films remain an inexhaustible source in which I draw. "One never stops questioning the emotions of his childhood, his youth. At age 76, Martin Scorsese is still the asthmatic kid stuck in front of Elizabeth Street TV, a dazzling kid that the cinema is saving.